Week Two – TFK Logres Goodreads Giveaway!

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Giveaway dates: Feb 01 – Mar 02, 2016
Availability: 5 signed copies (1 copy per winner)
Available: Worldwide (see giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

Today marks the beginning of the second week of my Goodreads Giveaway! You still have three weeks and two days to win one of five signed paperback editions of The Future King: Logres. All you need is a Goodreads account, and to enter the on the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to everyone and runs until the 2nd of March 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select five winners at random – who will then receive signed copies of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. Again, the purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your Goodreads friends and remember to add The Future King: Logres to one of your Goodreads shelves!

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

Although this book is over 500 pages long, it doesn’t feel like it. You don’t notice the time go by at all because not for a second, are you left bored. My favourite thing about this book was at the beginning, you don’t think there’s much wrong with the world of this story, it seems almost idealistic, until little things start happening…Then bigger things…Then it hits you about this sort of tyrannical system of government and how different things actually are!

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

Came highly recommended. Just taking a break so I can write a review! It’s a must – a new spin on a traditional story. Who doesn’t love a tale about the legendary Arthur?!

Good luck!

Week One – TFK Logres Goodreads Giveaway!

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Giveaway dates: Feb 01 – Mar 02, 2016
Availability: 5 signed copies (1 copy per winner)
Available: Worldwide (see giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

The grand opening of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Today marks the first day when you can enter for the chance to win one of five signed paperback editions of The Future King: Logres. All you need to enter this raffle is be a Goodreads account holder, and enter the giveaway via the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to everyone and runs for one month until the 2nd of March 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select five winners at random – who will then receive signed copies of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

M.L. Mackworth-Praed creates a multi-layered and inventive story, based on the Arthurian legends, through concise and descriptive prose and a unique sensitivity to the elements of successful storytelling. The Future King: Logres is an amazing novel and a great literary achievement.

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

What this book does beautifully is describe and explain the world it is set in without you even realising it. You never have to read through a history or exposition explaining the background; you learn through the conversations, narrative and action of the story about the England that Gwenhwyfar and her friends and family live in.

Good luck!

Five books ordered for Goodreads Giveaway!

The books are ordered, all five of them, ready for the giveaway and ready for me to sign. I’m still coming to terms with scribbling in books (I was always taught that defacing a book was hugely immoral), but I suppose that scrawling one’s John Hancock doesn’t really count. Then again, my ‘actual’ signature really can’t be counted as anything other than an irregular, scribbled mess.

Not so for my ‘author’ signature though – you know, the one you put in books – because I have been practicing on several scraps of paper to get something different than what I might scribble in a chequebook. Not that I expect anyone to forge said signature if I do include it in the leaves of my own book, but I’m sure that I once read somewhere that having an ‘artist’s’ signature is the thing to do.

What with my free trial of Amazon Prime, the books should all arrive via courier tomorrow; though I have experienced a certain amount of guilt as a result. It seems a tall task to print five copies of my novel, pack them up and then drive them over to their delivery destination in what is effectively 24 hours. I’m fairly certain that I’m not yet making enough sales for The Future King: Logres to be on the ‘print-and-stock-it-just-in-case’ list, so they’re probably being run off the printing press as we speak. With the novelty of being a published author still relatively new, I must admit that I am looking forward to handling so many copies of my ‘brain-baby’ at once.

In other news, I’m awaiting the moment when it’s appropriate to start spreading the word about my signed copy Giveaway on Goodreads (this will be a fairly labour-intensive task, I assure you), and have been struggling through writing the opening of book two (well, technically Volume One: Book Two, as Logres will be published as two instalments). It’s proving a challenge to get right. I think I’m going to have to accept that after all the polishing I did in the editing process of Book One, I can’t expect the prose for Book Two to be immediately as ‘perfect’. It seems I’m going to have to force myself to take my own advice, which is along the lines of, write and don’t stop. No looking back, no thinking it could be better, you can do all that later in your months of editing (which will inevitably take months) – just go for it, ignore that niggling in your head that it’s not quite there yet – ignore, ignore, ignore – until you get your groove back, get back into the flow of things, finish the story – only then can you go back and rewrite the whole not-quite-good-enough book (thrice, probably).

That said, it is natural to want to get the first few scenes absolutely right from the beginning so that you’re setting off at the right tone and pace. It’s exciting to be starting from scratch (despite the blank-page syndrome!), but writer’s block is still trying to unsettle me, and to top it all off a recent move means that I no longer have my old writing desk (everything is now done on the edge of a very cluttered dining room table).

But don’t despair, if you have read Logres: Book One and are looking for an indication of when Book Two will be on the proverbial shelves: the answer is soon, hopefully either the end of 2016 or near the start of 2017. To avoid the risk of getting myself into a George R. R. Martin-book 6-type scenario, I’m not going to promise too much too soon; but do keep checking back for progress, which I assure you I will undoubtedly post (probably in the form of word-count updates) as regularly as it’s worth.

In the meantime keep sharing The Future King: Logres, Volume One: Book One with anyone you feel might enjoy it, rate and review it on Amazon and Goodreads, enter my free signed copy giveaway on the 1st of Feb, and have a good, creatively embellished week. I will probably be sat at this dining table writing, then rewriting, and tapping out notes for The Future King: Logres, Volume One: Book Two.

Free Giveaway! 5 signed copies!

The first snow of the year has fallen, my 27th birthday has passed, and the weekend is nearly over. Oh, how Mondays seem 5 to 7 of the normal week! The reviews are starting to arrive for The Future King: Logres on the various hosting websites (mostly positive), and they’re highlighting (quite naturally) just how subjective this whole reading business really is. With various other commitments dominating my schedule, I feel I’ve failed to really get a good chunk taken out of the task of writing book two, but am comforting myself with the knowledge that much of my creative process involves a short waiting period, one in which I wait for a particular scene or chapter to bubble away in my head until it feels ‘done’.

With the excitement of my ebook giveaway over, now comes the lull in which sales and shares drop slightly. Both will pick up again, I’m sure, but I’m not one for sitting and waiting if I feel I can be doing something constructive (mind-scene-bubbling counts as constructive too, by the way, just not immediately productive). Presently I’ve been wasting my time running about Middle Earth as a Warg warg11 warg11 (I know, I know), but today I’ve also prepared my next trick: a free hard-copy giveaway (signed, five to be exact) of The Future King: Logres, on Goodreads.

This won’t be open for entry until the 1st of February (I had to list it at least seven days in advance for some reason), but once the giveaway is available all you have to do is click ‘enter giveaway‘. I’ve even put a handy Widget in the sidebar for your convenience, so there’s no excuse for you not to enter. All you need to do is supply your address to Goodreads if you win, and then I’ll post you a nice crisp copy of The Future King: Logres, personally signed by me, the author.

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Meanwhile I’m trying to get the start of the second instalment right. It picks off right where it left off, in the middle of the action, and I’m aiming to ensure that Volume II is much faster-paced than Volume I with much higher stakes. I’m excited about continuing to develop my characters, who are essentially still growing into their ultimate roles, and am particularly excited about unravelling some of the key twists (some my entirely own, and some slightly more inspired by the Arthurian legends).

Mostly as I await more feedback about how people are finding The Future King: Logres (trying not to page-stalk my own stats too much), I’m just hoping that people are actually enjoying reading it more than anything else. Naturally, I’ve been taking note of any feedback and have been creating a bulleted list. Do I agree with what the reviewer has said? Are other readers saying the same thing? Yes? No? Partly? I’m sure a seasoned author will tell me to avoid reading your own reviews, or to perhaps avoid worrying too much about them, and though the book you write should firstly be written for yourself – if you enjoy it, that’s the main thing – it’s also meant to be enjoyed by others and interpreted, and perhaps someone might give you a point for improvement that (when you think about it), might make a little bit of sense.

Or not. You may disagree entirely. Such is the nature of taste. It is, quite naturally, entirely subjective.

 

Got to No.5 in Arthurian – and a tip or two!

So it’s over! My five day giveaway has come to an end, and downloading has gone quite well. Well enough for The Future King: Logres to shift up a spot and make it to number five in the free Arthurian charts on Amazon (see below)! Now that it’s no longer available for free, it’s been removed from the charts temporarily, and will probably be slotted back in much lower down until the paid sales start to trickle in.

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Giving away your work for free isn’t something that is instinctive, and given the amount of work and time that goes into producing a self-published book it is compelling to have readers actually buy your book, especially after launch. You’ve got to earn back all those hours spent working for nothing but the love of your craft somehow. However, the reality is that a reader is more likely to give less for the work of a complete unknown than someone with an established track record, so despite any reservations I had it suddenly seemed instinctive to take the plunge and give my ebook away for free.

The whole five day thing worked out well (Amazon allows you to supply your ebook for free for a maximum of 5 days out of every 90 days), as it gave me time to build up momentum and get word around. Despite my modest social media following I managed to top 260 downloads, which quite honestly is many more than I was expecting.

If you’re in the same boat as me and you’re considering promoting your book (particularly if you’re about to or have just released it), then I would definitely recommend offering it for free for a short period. Obviously I’ve yet to see what number of reviews my giveaway will ultimately produce, but the more people who read an unknown book (and hopefully like it) the better – it should result in increased circulation and future sales.

If you are considering a free giveaway with zero budget I suggest the following:

  • Prepare some eye-catching graphics that you can present across all your social media channels, a new one each day with a similar look and feel – sort of an e-flyer.
  • If you have WordPress or a Facebook page, spend an afternoon preparing all your promo material and schedule your posts in advance – they’ll appear when you want them to and will give you more time on the day itself for actual book promotion.
  • Ask your friends and family to reblog/share your posts to their friend networks – the more eyes that see your free ebook giveaway the better.
  • Make use of the Goodreads website (or equivalent). I’ve only recently joined Goodreads myself, but there are thousands of members on there who are all looking for their next read – and they all appreciate a free book! Spend time posting in forums to build up your contacts, but more specifically look for groups that have specific threads where you’re encouraged to post news of your new book or free giveaway – I did this and it really helped circulate my ebook and gave me a boost on downloads.
  • If you are on Goodreads you can create an event on your author page (good idea to set one up – just add your self-published book to the site, then declare that you are the author through your regular account – Goodreads will merge your account with your author account for you) and invite your friends. Send out as many invitations as you can, because the people you invite can also invite others to attend the event, maximising exposure.
  • Don’t let things rest for too long. If you’re running your promo for multiple days, advertise, share and keep posting on every single one of those days. Don’t have a day off. Eventually your deal will get noticed by people outside of your regular friend sphere, and someone might be kind enough to share it.
  • Make your offer very clear with exact start and end times, along with instructions on how use the offer. I found that a lot of people were having problems with the Amazon extensions. I was supplying a UK link, which meant that US or French customers couldn’t get the book for free because they were trying to make a purchase through the UK link. In the end I linked to those regions as well and detailed how to find the book when using a different Amazon site (you just change the site extension to your relevant region – e.g. .fr or .com).

Now that the free ebook promotion is over, I’m going to take a short break to a) apply to jobs, and b) continue with my other projects. Book promotion will have to be ongoing, but part of it is now a waiting game to see how those 260+ readers will take to TFK Logres and what sort of reviews they will leave (assuming everyone reads it!). I am hoping of course that they will love it enough to share it, but time will tell, so in the meantime I shall keep my head down and perhaps get back into writing book 2 instead.

Now to end with some more promotion as per my own advice. Though the 5 day deal has ended subscribers of Kindle Unlimited can still pick up TFK Logres for free, whilst it is now also listed at its regular price of £3.99. Still a steal for a 517 page book, no?

Day three – TFK FREE ebook!

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Day three of my five-day book giveaway is here! Once again The Future King: Logres is available free on ebook. Free! So if you’re searching for a new read for 2016, are a YA fantasy and dystopian fan or are keen on the Arthurian legends, then click here. This deal is available through Amazon until the 6th of January, so tell everyone and share the goodness of this giveaway! Reviews and ratings through Amazon or Goodreads are welcomed, so click on the link, find somewhere to relax, have a read of The Future King: Logres and share your thoughts!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

FREE ebook giveaway!

To mark the release of The Future King: Logres on Kindle, I am running a promotion for a FREE ebook giveaway.

This promotion is available to everyone and is live for 5 days, running from Saturday the 2nd of January 2016 (Midnight Pacific Time) to Wednesday the 6th of January 2016 (Midnight Pacific Time).

To find the promotion click here during the times and dates specified. If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber then you can pick up your copy already!

Do share this giveaway with everyone and anyone you think might be interested, and please leave a review for The Future King: Logres on Amazon or Goodreads once you’ve read your free copy!

I hope you enjoy The Future King: Logres, the first book in the Future King series. The page for the promotion can be found on Goodreads, so RSPV if you’re a Goodreads member!

Thank you for your support and have a Happy New Year!

The Future King: Logres, now available on Amazon!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

The Future King: Logres: Volume 1

It’s out! It’s available to buy! Finally, after many hours of proofreading, formatting and double-triple checking my files, The Future King: Logres is live on Amazon (and also on Createspace). Soon to be released on Kindle, I thought I would share with you an extract from the middle of novel to whet your appetites.

She was knocked out of Arthur’s grasp in a second, pushed aside by one scrambling body and then another, and suddenly she was being carried along with a stream of faceless figures, fighting against them, trying to get back.

‘Arthur!’

A tear gas canister propelled past her, splitting the protestors. Someone pushed her hard in the back. Gwenhwyfar didn’t realise she had fallen until she was on the tarmac. Instinctively her hands flew up to protect her head. Someone trod on her leg, another person tripped over her stomach. The shouting was frightening. Grabbing hands pulled her up, and then another protestor was asking if she was all right, helping her away from the scene. When she fought against them they abandoned her.

‘Arthur!’ she yelled again, cutting through the crush. He was tall; she should be able to find him, and at the same time she half-hunted for Gavin, who was tallest. She daren’t jump to try and see better; if she did she would go down again, and this time she might not get back up.

She longed to take her mask off; it was hot and hard to breathe. They had been told to go to Marvin’s meet-up spot if one of them got separated, but with her phone at home she was scared to leave when she knew that Arthur was here somewhere, just a few feet away.

The crowd struggled the only way it could—back into itself. Gwenhwyfar waited, alone and small as the road around her cleared, but when the police charged in with handcuffs and batons she shrank away, knowing she shouldn’t linger. A sudden heat seemed to melt against her with the brightest of lights. Someone had thrown a Molotov cocktail.

Of course none of this would have been possible without the support of my family and friends, and I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has already ordered The Future King: Logres and who have supported me throughout this process. If you do buy a copy then I encourage you to leave a review on Amazon – it will help others decide if this book is for them and I would love to hear your feedback!

With TFK published I can now concentrate on other endeavours, and hopefully also continue writing Book II which will be the next in The Future King series.

Time is running out!

Work, work, work. I haven’t been doing much of it lately, mostly because I’ve been tied up in an (unsuccessful) stint at Paris Fashion Week. Those of you who know the industry will be aware of just how fickle it is, how options and confirmed jobs can evaporate at the final hour, leaving you with nothing but a hole in your pocket and a sense that perhaps you shouldn’t have bothered at all. Though of course, it is human nature to always be happier with the fact that you tried – that way at least opportunity is something that isn’t left unexplored.

With my time in Paris came the inability to do much else but castings and go-sees each day, which inevitably impacted on the progress of self-publishing. Now I am fairly certain that my release date of The Future King is premature, and am having to readjust my expectations to early November instead. This is no disaster given that I have no contract binding me to a completion date, and the few who are waiting with baited breath for the book release can be easily updated via Facebook. After all, I never released an official release date, so I have some time to consider when exactly it should be made available. A lot is influencing this date – awaiting news from my proof-readers (and re-reading it myself) is one, making any changes is another, and then adding hyphens into the whole document is an unexpected third. In a way it is good it has taken me so long to get myself organised, otherwise I would have made the mistake of releasing a formatted novel that has only been justified, and not amended to look pretty with the odd sentence strategically hyphenated here and there. Apart from that there is the “tax interview” to sort out through Amazon, the amending of my spine width to match the new page count, the finalisation of the book cover, and then the ordering of the first printed copy to check that all is as it should be. This is all pressured by an immediate move, scheduled for the end of this month.

The text for my children’s book is finalised however, and I am halfway through drafting the illustrations. In the meantime I have started writing the text for another children’s book (I’m excited about this one), and have identified yet another written project which is pressing prominence in my head as probably the most important and most lucrative idea to run with next  – and I was considering writing something unrelated to TFK over the Christmas holidays before I start on book two, anyway (sorry, fans).

Here in Belgium the leaves are turning despite the glorious sunshine and hot weather we’ve been enjoying. The park is filled with the usual reds and golds, splattered amongst the still-deep greens, but also with bright fuchsia – a colour I had previously not expected to be possible in a leaf at this time of year. My to-do list has peaked at the annoying number of  14, and though I have stormed through some of it already it is one of those lists with points that take months to strike off. My priority for today however is to get through another hundred pages of TFK (still noticing missing speech marks and a few comma/full stop swaps), and to hopefully organise a few more illustrations for my picture book. Oh, and I need to milk the plants. The apple trees have powdery mildew, and an effective treatment is to spray them with part-milk part-water. So far it seems to be working, and for the first time in weeks there is new, undamaged growth. They’re still a long way away from being proper apple trees yet, but as I have no garden currently in which to plant them, I won’t be hurrying them along too much.

Dragons, unicorns and ravens

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Finished! I have finished. Finally, my embroideries can sit side-by-side, ready for framing or for other kinds of presentation, looking smart and quite grand. Left, we have the Praed crest, a unicorn with crown; and right, we have the Mackworth crest, the raven’s wing and ermine. Traditionally, heraldry is interpreted right to left. Despite the stark colour difference between the two, I feel they go well together. This makes sense (as they are a considered pair), but I ensured that I used the same colours in my stitched interpretation wherever possible, whilst remaining true to the colour of the crests.

Usually it is the unicorn which is presented as the Mackworth-Praed sigil, as understandably, it is seen as the more prestigious of the two, but I am quite fond of the lesser-used raven’s wing, which seems to vary more due to liberal artistic interpretations. My interpretation is the more traditional presentation however, incorporating the pattern and colours also seen on the family’s coat of arms (which, by the way, will probably be my next craft related project).

As well as embroidering, this week I have been scanning slides taken in 1964 in Abisko, Sweden, by my grandfather. He was a keen conservationist and a great collector, collecting the moths and butterflies that he sought to conserve, and throughout his life he took many slides – around 22,000 of them. Some have come to me to digitalise, in the hopes that the National Trust may be interested in making use of them. It’s taken me four days to digitalise 200 slides – slides which (in these two boxes) consist of common to rare plants, reindeer hair, train stations and a dead lemming. These slides are all being stored on an external hard-drive, which I hope doesn’t crap out at one point or another because as of yet, I have no back up. Perhaps the thing to do would be to post up a few of the more interesting finds as I stumble across them – there are some lovely photos. The ones that interest me most, of course, are the photos of my family, particularly because the house that my father, aunts and uncles grew up in is also the home that I grew up in, too.

Before I scan 50 slides a day, I have been working on the illustrations for my children’s picture book. I thought I would share some sketches below (also viewable on my Instagram account):

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They are, as you can hopefully see, dragons! There are ten of them, and they are all doing the sorts of things that dragons would do in a children’s book. The plan is to sketch them all in their various positions and then compile them for the final drawings – this is my first attempt at a picture book, after all, so I’m still finding my feet. I usually only do separate studies of one or two subjects at a time, but I have, at least, got a strong sense of the style in mind.

Other than that I’m still waiting for news from my proof readers, and resigning myself to the fact that I will probably have to read my book (again) on paper to check (again) for mistakes. If I find any, you’ll probably hear about it here. Until then, or until the next part-time post!