The annual Preditors & Editors Readers Poll, sponsored by Critters Workshop has drawn to a close. The results have been tallied and in the end, 4RV Publishing (with nominations in Children’s Books, Young Adult Books, Artwork from Books, Book Covers, Publisher, Author, Artist and Bookstore) finished with seven in the top ten.
Young Adult Books (2 4RV nominations) took 3rd place with with my novel A Shadow in the Past.
Artwork from Books (2 4RV nominations) had two results tied for 6th place. Ginger Nielson who wrote and illustrated Willow, an Elephant’s Tale and my talented artist Aidana WillowRaven for her cover design for A Shadow in the Past.
Artist saw Aidana WillowRaven earn a 9th place finish in addition to her tie with Ginger in the Artwork category.
Author saw 4RV Publishing President, Vivian Zabel place 6th.
My publisher, 4RV Publishing, was recently awarded the prestigious Best of Edmond Awards in the Book Publishers category! How exciting is that?
I am so happy to say that I’m a member of the family because that’s what we are from every level within the company. We care about each other and support each other. You don’t get that at every publishing house.
So as Stuart McLean says about Dave’s record store on the Vinyl Cafe, “we may not be big, but we’re small”. There’s nothing wrong with that, don’t you think?
Dec 31st says goodbye to the current year in anticipation of what is to come in the next year. Known as New Year’s Eve in many countries, in Scotland, it’s a special celebration known as Hogmanay. Great street parties with entertainment take place in major cities. Edinburgh’s celebration is the most widely known. You can see what’s happening in Scotland’s capital to ring in 2013 here.
But before I pop the cork on the champagne, I want to take a look at 2012 and reflect on all the good things that happened to me during the year.
In early January, fellow Writers’ Ink member, Joe Mossman, and I did a spot for the local cable TV’s program, Readers’ Corner and talked about our group.
A few days later, I was assigned my editor. We hit it off immediately which made the revision process a lot more fun. My gorgeous cover designed by Aidana WillowRaven was revealed here on January 18th.
March came and with it, I received the Versatile Blogger Award from loveahappyending.com associate reader, Susan Livingston. I had been an associate reader for loveahappyending.com myself since June 2011 and on May 21, 2012 (my son’s birthday), I became a featured author!
June brought about the new Melanie Robertson-King “brand” reveal.
The weekend of Sept 14-17 (okay Friday to the following Monday – weekend plus) took me to Kansas for the debut of my novel… and best of all, I got to hold it in my hot little hands for the first time. It was brilliant meeting my editor, Carla, for the first time and my publisher, Vivian Zabel, and fellow 4RV Publishing authors Jacque Graham, Janet Brown and Galand Nuchols.
My short story, Cole’s Notes, that had been accepted for publication became available for the Kindle in Carrick Publishing’s first cross-genre anthology – EFD1 – Starship Goodwords, and classed as literary fiction, no less!
Home from Kansas and the following weekend I hosted my hometown launch at the Wedgewood Retirement Resort in downtown Brockville.
In October, I created a blog for my character, Sarah, and filmed another program for Readers’ Corner – this time talking about my novel,
was invited to join Famous Five Plus and woo-hoo, I got my first 5-star review for A Shadow in the Past!
November came along and with it, my first kick at the can taking part in NaNoWriMo, and a number of appearances and signings – Ladies’ Night at Green Things Garden and Gift Shop, the Mallorytown Legion’s Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale, and finally downtown Brockville’s Christmas Open House at Leeds County Books.
I’m pleased to welcome fellow loveahappyending.com author Carol E. Wyer to the hotseat here at Celtic Connexions today. Make yourself comfortable Carol and we’ll get started.
So, tell us a bit about yourself. What makes Carol E. Wyer who she is?
Crumbs! I’m not entirely sure since I don’t really know who Carol E Wyer is other than a humorous author and lover of life, but I think I became a comedienne of sorts a long time ago when I was at school. Being an army brat I moved about so often I never had the chance to make proper friends. Each time we moved I had to try harder to get into groups where friendships had already been forged and the easiest way to do that was to be the class clown. I developed an ability to make people laugh very early on in life aided by the fact that I smashed my front teeth out when I was seven and had false teeth which I could take out at whim. Everyone cracked up when I ‘gurned’ at them. I was quite a mimic too so I could also do great impressions which made people chuckle. I learned pretty early on in life not to take myself seriously and it has spilled into adulthood.
What made you decide to go indie with your novels Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos? Did you try the traditional route first?
I was pretty familiar with the traditional route because years ago I sat for weeks with The Writer’s handbook bombarding publishers and agents alike with copies of my children’s books.
After a telephone sized book of rejection slips I actually got a publisher interested in my work and they were keen to offer me a deal. Sadly, my illustrator for the books passed away suddenly and as it was a joint venture I didn’t take up the opportunity to go ahead with a different illustrator.
When I finished Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines I sent my script off to agents who I felt could best represent me. I got some very positive rejections and would have continued in my quest to find an agent had I not stumbled across YouWriteOn. I liked the idea of uploading my chapter, getting feedback and having my script looked at by a publishing house if it did well. Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines has been in the top ten of my publisher’s chart for six months now and as a reward my script is currently awaiting a critique from Orion so we’ll see what happens next.
With Surfing in Stilettos I was actually offered a contract with a publisher but after a sleepless night I decided to stick with FeedARead (who used to be YouWriteOn). That way I get better royalties, I am in control of my book and I like the way FeedAread operate.
I have however signed a two book deal with ThornBerry Publishing to produce the eBook to Surfing in Stilettos and it will be released on October 8th so I am pretty excited about that.
You’ve won some prestigious indie awards. Can you tell us about them?
I’ve been pretty lucky with awards and picked up the Readers Views Reviewer’s Choice 2012 Award for humour. I got lots of stickers to put on my books for that and a terrific review from them. I received an invitation to the award ceremony in New York at the plaza hotel and got a huge Silver medal for the Indie Book Awards 2012. I couldn’t attend the ceremony but I have the medal and some more stickers. I got finalist placing for 2012 Indie Excellence awards again for humour and Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines is a semi-finalist Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book of 2012. I have my fingers crossed for that and results are to be announced September 1st.
I’m even prouder of Surfing in Stilettos which is a Costa award nominee and is entered for a couple of other highly prestigious awards.
What was your reaction when you landed your contract with ThornBerry Publishing?
I did that stupid victory dance that very happy people do (or very drunk people attempt to do) and made Hubby buy me some Cava to celebrate with.
Can you tell us about future projects… works in progress?
I am currently working on Follow You, Follow Me, another humorous novel but has a dark side to it. It must be good because Hubby has laughed at it and he doesn’t laugh at much these days. I hope to have it ready by the end of the year.
An ex teacher and linguist Carol used to live and work in Casablanca until the late eighties when she returned to the UK, set up a language company and settled down to married life.
When her son finally left the nest a couple of years ago Carol took up writing full time. She has written articles and novels which generally encourage others to age disgracefully and enjoy life.
We have to be up, eaten, and into our glad rags and over to the venue before 7:00 this morning. I set our alarm last night before falling asleep sometime between 9:30 and 10:00, but when I woke this morning about 4:30, I decided to stay up.
Today is going to be more exciting than yesterday even. Okay, it will start out with a lot of hard work setting up out booth but then it will be time to sell books. I brought postcards, bookmarks and business cards with me for promotion and hopefully that will generate interest in me and my stuff.
My red shoes will go i my tote bag, but will only come out for a photo op or two when I’m on solid ground. We’re outdoors under tents so the only thing they would be good for in that instance would be aerating the soil.
Well must start getting ready because it’s just after 5:00 and we have to get our skates on. More from Kansas later.
Last week fellow loveahappyending.com author, Mandy Baggot, tagged me in her post The Next Big Thing and this week it’s my turn! So, I answer ten questions about my Work in Progress/Current release and tag five other writers to tell you about their latest work next Wednesday! Woo hoo! Sounds like fun, eh?
What is the (working) title of your book?
Since mine is my current release, it’s no longer a working title. Now known as A Shadow in the Past, its working title for a very long time was Sarah’s Gift.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve been a keen reader of the Scottish newspapers since my first trip to my father’s homeland in 1993. I saw an article in the Press & Journal that caught my attention. But even before that, I was given a photograph of my grandfather and his first wife presumably on their wedding day and bingo, everything came together and I wrote a short story which I later expanded to a novel.
What genre does your book fall under?
YA Crossover, although historical romance would also work since the majority of my book is set in 1886.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Without a doubt, they would have to be Scottish so I would have to Shirley Henderson who played Isobel Sutherland in Hamish MacBeth as Sarah and John Hannah of Rebus and earlier MacCallum fame as Robert.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. I’m under contract with 4RV Publishing for this novel after pitching to them at the MuseItUp Online conference last October. My novel launches on Saturday, September 15 at the Kansas Book Festival.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
That’s hard to say. I’m thinking 6 months to a year but it was 4-5 years ago now. Before that it started out as a short story. I was working full-time in addition to writing so had to steal moments to write.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is going to sound lame but I’m not sure how many other YA Crossover novels that involve time travel with romantic elements are out there. Except my heroine is only nineteen, I would have to say the closest would be the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.
I recently met Canadian author, Y.S. Lee, who writes The Agency series YA novels set in Victorian London so perhaps my book could be compared to her novels?
I really don’t like making comparisons like this because I’m an emerging writer and some people might think it presumptuous of me to think that I’m on the same plateau as these other authors.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I had recently started reading the Outlander Series and with it being set in Scotland I was immediately hooked. Then the romance and the time-travel aspect took over and I thought I could write a time-travel romance.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Egads! I don’t want to put spoilers in here, otherwise people won’t buy it. So can I leave it at it’s the first in a series? There are lots of plot twists throughout the story.
After thunderstorms and chances of rain predicted for today, the weather cooperated and the sun stayed out all day. Best of all, it wasn’t as humid as its been in previous years so it wasn’t as uncomfortable inside the venues. It was great to renew acquaintances with fellow attendees from previous years and catch up with authors I’ve met on other occasions. And I met some new authors, too.
We left the mainland from the ferry dock in Kingston filled with anticipation of what the day would bring. What we didn’t know was Scene of the Crime was competing with a music festival.
After a meet and greet with the authors and the Grant Allen award winning members of The Ladies Killing Circle, we made our way to the first venue (United Church) where four authors read from their works. Since we were there in plenty of time, I took the opportunity to buy some books.
After a delicious church lunch, everyone had a chance to get their books signed by the authors and visit with old and new friends before making the trek to the Anglican Church where the authors we enjoyed reading from their works in the morning session, held a panel discussion led by author Vicki Delany.
A Q&A session followed the author panel before we adjourned for a short break to allow the “ladies” to get into their glad rags and ready for their turn. The Grant Allen award is a handcrafted kaleidoscope. And normally there is only one presented. But since six lovely ladies make up the killing circle – six of these beautiful handcrafted items were crafted in the shape of a stick pen, all in presentation boxes in the shape of books.
Another delicious meal served up by the church ladies rounded up the day accompanied by the presentation of the short story contest winners (no, I didn’t enter this year… too tied up with edits for that) but I did tell people we sat with at various times throughout the day that my novel was coming out next month.
One of the books I bought today was the one that Y.S. (Ying) Lee read the prologue from. Well my husband was so drawn in to the story, that by the time we left the island, he’d read the first six chapters! That’s quite the achievement. Usually, he only reads tech manuals, computer books, magazines and newspapers. So him getting drawn into a novel is huge! Who knows, maybe eventually, he’ll pick mine up and read it.
With the music festival and the ferry schedule being interrupted to bring an ambulance across and back to the mainland again, things weren’t as orderly and on time as usual.
Normally, there isn’t a police presence on the island (so we heard) but when we got to the ferry dock, a police cruiser was parked next to the building. When the ferry approached, the officer driving pulled the car to the parking spot at the head of the queue.
All in all, it was a great day and I can’t wait until next year’s festival.
In just a few short hours, I’ll be heading off to Wolfe Island for the 2012 Scene of the Crime Mystery Writing Festival. I’m hoping for no rain although the weather forecast is calling for a chance of thunderstorms. But then they could make an interesting background atmosphere for a mystery writing festival.
The Ladies Killing Circle (Joan Boswell, Vicki Cameron, Barbara Fradkin, Mary Jane Maffini, Sue Pike, and Linda Wiken) are this year’s recipient of the Grant Allen Award.
Other authors taking part this year are YS Lee, DJ McIntosh, John Moss and Thomas Rendell Curren.
I’ll be back later this weekend with photos and a round up from today’s event.
I’m happy to announce that for the second time, I’ve received the “Versatile Blogger Award” – this time from fellow loveahappyending.com Associate Reader, Susan Livingston. You can find out more about Susan and the authors she supports on her Associate Reader page.
Now for seven things about me… I tried to make them different from the ones I used the first time I received this award.
1. My debut novel, “A Shadow in the Past” will be released in September 2012. It’s been a long time in the making. It originally started as an overgrown short story back in late 1999 – early 2000 and until last year, was known as Sarah’s Gift. Even now, I refer to it by that title. My publisher is 4RV Publishing LLC and they’re a great house to be with.
2. I love animals and have had pets almost all of my life. Currently I have a large dog (cross between a lab & black and tan hound) who I’ve nicknamed “the alarm dog”. Who needs an alarm clock when you have him? Now, if I could only train him to have a lie-in on the weekends or when I’m on vacation.
3. Since June 2011, I’ve been an associate reader at loveahappyending.com. I’m a member of “Team Horton”, and support Chris Longmuir (my Scottish Crime writer friend who I’ve known since 2001) and Harry Leslie Smith.
4. I have two grown children – boy and girl – millionaire’s family they say. Too bad I didn’t have the millions but that’s another story.
5. I’m a grandmother to three boys – 15, 13 and 11 (all courtesy of my daughter). The oldest lives with my husband and me. I’m now also step-grandmother to a wee girl of 3 and a boy of 9 – again thanks to my daughter. These kiddies are her partner’s.
6. When my husband (also referred to in the loveahappyending circles as Mr MR-K) first met, I wasn’t keen on him. I was in my last year of secondary school. Our paths crossed the following year when I started college and within six months we were engaged and in June 1975 (June 7th – my grandmother’s birthday) we were married.
7. The first time I had “curry” was in Scotland. It was in 2001 when I went to “Schmooze with Royalty”. My husband and cousin and I stayed in the Bed and Breakfast in Quarriers Village (used to be The Orphan Homes of Scotland where my father was raised). The then Chief Executive and his wife invited us to their house and we had Indian food. Shall we say they created a monster? I love it and cook it frequently.
Well that’s all about me. Now to bestow this award on seven other folks.
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap – Vivian Zabel (my wonderful publisher over at 4RV) Bill Kirton – (one of my virtual Scottish writer friends) Scribbles – Pauline Barclay (another one of my virtual writer friends) Books-to-remember – Ananda (another Associate Reader over at loveahappyending.com Sheryl’s Ramblings – Sheryl Browne (author of romantic comedy and featured author at loveahappyending.com) Talli Roland – native Canadian transplanted to the UK and loads of fun to follow
and finally… Flights of Imagination – Ros Gemmell (if it wasn’t for Ros, I wouldn’t have known about the online writers’ conference where I successfully pitched my novel)
Now to get off and notify these wonderful folks that I’ve passed this award on to them… and have a bite of supper.
My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King