The last few weeks have been a busy time for me, as I prepare to launch my first novel, Castles of Steel and Thunder. As a result, my blog has been neglected somewhat, and it’s been hard to find the time to put finger-to-keyboard here. On the positive side, I’ve just signed off on the final proofs for the novel, which means the release date is looming ever closer. The book will be launched as an eBook on Amazon first, with the paperback launch following soon after. I’ll keep everything up to date here, and on my social media (I’m mainly to be found on Instagram and Facebook). Watch out for a special offer on eBook launch day – and a little Facebook giveaway when the paperbacks arrive!
As exciting as the whole process feels, I’ve written before about how nerve-wracking an experience preparing to publish a book is. I couldn’t have got through these last weeks without the support of Jen at Fuzzy Flamingo, who is publishing the book under her imprint, and has designed the cover, typeset the text and undertaken all the wizardry necessary to transform the book into the right formats for eBook and print. This isn’t an advert – I’ve paid Jen for her (very professional) services, which have offered me the ideal balance between out-and-out self-publishing and something more akin to a traditional model. I’ve been left with a product that I feel – honestly – quite proud of. I really hope some of you might like it too!
At the same time, there’s also that feeling that the book, although new to everyone else, is now disappearing in my own personal rear view mirror. Like most writers, I love to move on to a ‘shiny new project,’ and my attention is already focused on writing the sequel – which I’ve already started – and finishing another book, a very different coming-of-age story, which I’m already half way through. I also have the germ of an idea for a memoir which would also touch on some of the issues facing the North Highlands. Suffice to say, I want to keep writing books, and lots of them. (I’m still trying to break this revelation to my husband, who seems to have harboured the impression that one book would be enough to get this writing lark out of my system. Oh dear.)
Marital misunderstandings aside, this Covid period, although strange and sometimes difficult, has also been a hugely creative time for me, and has galvanised my desire to get more of my writing ‘out there’. Getting several pieces of work published this year, and taking runner-up spot in Best magazine’s summer fiction competition reminded me that my biggest dream has always been to get my writing into print. As much as I love my blog, it may be that in the future, a bit more of my focus is placed on my novel-writing and other creative projects. It took me a very long time to write my first novel, but the last few months have shown me what can be achieved when I truly fix my gaze.
This week, I had some other happy writing news, when one of my poems was published in Northwards Now, the literary magazine of the North, and somewhere I’d hoped to be published for some time now. The piece was inspired by a visit to Dunnet Beach, my deep connection to family, and my home here in Caithness. You can read the poem here if you’d like to – it’s another one of my ‘heart stories.’
And soon, I will be sharing another.
I hope you’ll stick with me, as I keep telling these stories of my heart.