Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Giveaways and Good News!

 Today I'm letting you know I'm part of an excellent giveaways. One AXP, you could win 45 books. The other litring, you could win an Amazon gift card.  https://www.litring.com/bookbub-sept-29/  
The book giveaway is mixed genre as you can see. It's to do with series -the first book in each series is up for grabs. My Barbara's War is featured.

Another thing I want to share with you is that my book, Blue Skies & Tiger Moths, the first book in my new Ellen's War series, has been longlisted for the Millennium Book Awards. There were 1000 entrants and forty books were longlisted. I'm thrilled. I've entered several awards and never been long listed.
The second book, An ATA Girl ,is now out with my Beta readers and should be ready for release early next year.

Thanks for dropping by
Fenella J Miller


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Yay! My Christmas Regency book is out.

A Most Unexpected Christmas was released as part of the Regency Romantics box set winter 2016

Lydia Halstead has no desire to remarry or to attend social gatherings. However, she is persuaded to accompany her brother and his family to Fakenham Manor.
Lord Theodore Fakenham is not pleased to discover his mama has arranged a Christmas house party without his permission. This is not an auspicious start to the festive period.
An infestation of mice in the nursery, a riotous snowball fight and an accident in the study make for a very unexpected and romantic Christmas.

Buy Here

Too soon, I hear you yell but if there are giant boxes of sweets on shelves and even decorations then it's not too soon for a Regency Christmas book.
Hope you enjoy it  - a bargain at £1.50 & $2!!

Fenella J Miller

Friday, 1 September 2017

How far would you go to increase your sales and visibility?

There has been a lot of talk on various loops about authors who have used click-farms and become instantly a bestseller. I'm sure you all know how this works as there's been so much talk about it – but in case you don't – here is a potted version.
Author pays X amount of dollars/pounds to an intermediary. The book is then downloaded via the Kindle library system by the click farm and the book is flicked through as if it's been read. Multiply this by thousands and you get the idea. A title that nobody has heard of can suddenly be in the top ten on Amazon and the author making thousands of dollars.
It was said on one loop that it is possible for the author to have stumbled onto this and not realised they were doing something unethical. I investigated every lead I could find and didn't discover any black sites or any others where I could sign up for such a deal even if I wanted to. Therefore, I think it fair to say that any author who has used this scheme has done so deliberately.
I'm not sure if I had found such a deal whether I would have been tempted to do it. The book everyone was discussing wasn't very good and had made virtually no impression on anyone. My book, the one on the right, is selling around five hundred copies a month, so it's certainly being read and well received.
If a click farm could push it into the bestselling list and not only make me a lot of money but also find me lots of new fans would I do it?
 Doesn't a good book deserve to be read by thousands rather than hundreds?
Would it be so wrong to take a shortcut?
Isn't this just another way of promoting your book – albeit not a strictly moral one?
What about schemes that say they will get you dozens of reviews? It now seems that the Amazon algorithm only kicks in to promote your book when you have 50+ good reviews. Friends and family are not supposed to review your books but I know for a fact that some books with 50+ reviews, all five star, have done just that.  I've read the books and know them to be dire. All right, these aren't paid for reviews, but they are still breaking the rules.
How many of you have asked friends and family to put up a review? I used to, but now don't. I do ask those on my subscriber lists if they could find a few minutes to review my books, but don't get particularly good results. Amazon insists that if you send an ARC (advance review copy) to anyone you must ask them to say this. All reviews are supposed to be from  'a verified purchase' – I'm not sure if this counts if you have borrowed it through the Kindle library. Amazon used to insist that a review was at least three sentences, now a reviewer can put up three words as long as it's a verified purchase.
I read recently that someone spent thousands of dollars buying their own book at dozens of different retailers in order to push it into the New York Times bestselling list. This is breaking the rules too – but if someone is prepared to do it, and is so desperate  to be in the bestselling list, then it's going to continue to happen.
Maybe if I'd bought /bribed/begged for reviews this book, An Accommodating Husband, would have had the orange flag 'bestseller' that all the others got.
How far are you prepared to go to get noticed? If you were offered a deal that guaranteed you a bestselling ranking on Amazon would you take it? It's not illegal but  it is breaking the rules.
Until next time
Fenella J Miller


Friday, 18 August 2017

The Air Transport Auxiliary - female ferry pilots.

Air Transport Auxiliary - ferry pilots in WW2

At the moment I'm writing the second book in my three book series, Ellen's War – An ATA Girl. The first book, Blue Skies and Tiger Moths came out earlier this year. The second book follows Ellie Simpson from June 1940 until December 1941 – at least that's when I think it will finish. I don't really know until I get there. In this one she leaves the WAAF and joins the Air Transport Auxiliary. Therefore, this month I thought I'd tell you a bit about them. The trouble is I find the subject so fascinating I'm doing rather more research then I should and a lot less writing. This is why I love being a historical fiction writer – I can immerse myself in fascinating facts.
The ATA was started by the director of British Airways. He could see that when the second war started there wouldn't be enough trained pilots to protect Britain if they were used to ferry new aircraft from the factories and take back damaged ones for repair. Also there would be a suspension of civil aviation which meant these pilots would have no work.
The RAF had strict entry requirements and many of these civilian and commercial pilots would be considered unsuitable for operational service.
Initially just over a hundred men were recruited from all walks of life. It soon became apparent that these gallant few would not be enough to move trainers, fighters and bombers from storage units to RAF squadrons stop the RAF had thought they could use their own pilots for this but it became glaringly obvious after Dunkirk they would need every able-bodied RAF pilot in active service.
Most of these ATA pilots were limited to flying single engined training aircraft so they were given conversion courses so they could fly Hurricanes and Spitfires and multi-engine types.
Spitfire
Then Pauline Gower stepped in and convinced the powers that be that well-trained women could do the job just as well as men. So on January 1st 1940 eight women pilots were employed to ferry Tiger Moths and Pauline was appointed commander of this first group of women flyers.
Hurricane
They were based at Hatfield in a small office behind the de Havilland hangars. There sole job initially was to fly planes from the de Havilland factory to training airfields and storage units, for the most part in northern England and Scotland. This was the middle of winter and Tiger Moths were open cockpit. This was the first time in history women would be officially given the task of ferrying military aircraft and they did a wonderful job at it.
ATA girls in uniform.
By 1941 the women were at last cleared to fly class II aircraft, Hurricanes and Spitfires. More women from all walks of life were taken on until eventually there were twenty-two ferry pools – some pools like Hamble, Crossford and Hatfield were all women ferry pools but most of the others were mixed with men and women pilots working side by side.
Many foreign pilots also found employment in the ATA. They were known as " The Flying Legion of the Air," as there were men and women from thirty other countries in the organisation.
In 1943 female pilots who had previously earned 20% less than male pilots were at last given equal pay. By now they were flying all class of aircraft, with the exception of class VI flying boats. They flew using only a compass and gyro and could only take off and land when the weather was clear.
By the end of the war ATA pilots had delivered over 300 000 aircraft of 51 different types. The ATAs total complement consisted of 1152 men and 166 women. There were also aircrew, radio officers, ground engineers and ATC cadets. 129 men and 20 women were killed in service, including Amy Johnson.
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Duke''s Alliance - An Accommodating Husband – on sale at bargain price for one week only!

Buy Now
The fourth book in The Duke's Alliance series – An Accommodating Husband – is now live on all Amazon platforms. It is at a reduced price for one week only and will return to the usual price on 8 August.
I didn't put this book on preorder as I've been reading this doesn't work for Amazon – certainly reducing the price and sending it out to my almost 2000 subscribers proved successful as the book is already on six bestseller lists – including Regency.
Needless to say I'm delighted about this and I hope that my new readers will then go on and buy the backlist.
This book tells the story of Lady Giselle Sheldon, the younger sister of the Duke. Beau, of course, features strongly in this book as he does in all of them. I shall be beginning Perry's story in a few weeks and it will be entitled "A Soldier's Bride." Peregrine, you might remember, is the other twin. The previous book in the series was his brother Aubrey's story – An Unconventional Bride.
I'm really enjoying writing this series and will be sorry to get the end of it. The final book will be the duke's romance and I haven't quite decided how that one will go but I do know it will be out next summer sometime.

The Regency Romantic's summer box set, Midsummer Marriages, of which I am part, is also doing well. In future all the stories will be new ones and I'm sure that will please many fans.
Don't forget if you want a bargain by An Accommodating Husband this week as it will be back to the usual $2.99 and £1.99 very soon.
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Regency Romantics Summer Box Set Midsummer Marriages.

Delighted that second box set for 2017 is now live on Amazon. This time four new titles and this is the plan from now on. We are all going to write new books for the box sets if possible - Wendy Soliman, Elizabeth Bailey, Monica Fairview and myself certainly will. Amanda Grange and Melinda Hammond will write one new book a year as they have other commitments.
Elizabeth is now hosting the box sets - we have taken it in turns. I started this venture three years ago and hopefully Elizabeth will host for a couple for years before it's my turn again. 

Here are the blurbs:

Regency Romantics Summer Box Set

Five Bestselling Authors with five glittering Regencies
Including Four completely new stories!

DAMSEL TO THE RESCUE by Elizabeth Bailey
A fugitive stranger and a frantic forest escape.
Four years on the marriage mart have left Delia Burloyne resigned to life as a maiden aunt. Then fate takes a hand. Waylaid on the road to Weymouth, her life is turned inside out by dashing Giffard Gaunt. He’s on the run and desperate.
Plunged into a dangerous dash for freedom with a wounded man on her hands, Delia must dig deep for courage. Can she help Giff win back his estates and still keep her heart intact?

LUCASTA by Melinda Hammond
Lucasta Symonds did not enjoy her one, short London Season and she is happy to remain at home while her beautiful younger sister Camilla sets out to make an advantageous marriage. Viscount Kennington takes one look at the beautiful Camilla and is immediately smitten. He follows her to London, determined to make her his wife. However, when events take a turn for the worse and he is accused of a cold-blooded murder, it is not Camilla who comes to his rescue but the less beautiful, much more practical Lucasta.

THE RECLUSIVE DUKE by Fenella Miller
When Lydia Sinclair is left to care for the orphaned children of her sister she discovers they are distant relatives of The Duke of Hemingford. With the last few coins she possesses she buys seats on a common stage for all five of them, determined to persuade the duke to assume responsibility for his cousins. 
Tee duke has no wish to have these unwanted relatives foisted on him, since his accident he shuns society. However, Digby, his man of business, has other ideas and installs Lydia and the children in The Dower House.
Will the duke evict them when he discovers this deception or can Lydia get him to change his mind?

LADY MYSTERIOUS by Wendy Soliman
Kyra Latimer reluctantly returns to Latimer Lodge to help her grandmother organise a house party in the hope of attracting a rich husband for her beautiful younger sister. Lord Nathan Stanford, the guest of honour, is easily able to resist Melanie Latimer’s charms but is intrigued by Kyra’s secretive activities. Why did she leave her family home and why, at such a young age, has she withdrawn from the marriage mart?
Nate makes it his business to find out more about the mysterious lady who single-handedly holds her fragmented family together. Shocked to the core by what he discovers, Nate sets out to protect her from the gambling curse that has destroyed her family and the evil man who wants to possess her. But at what cost to himself? Will he be able to help her find out why her brother’s wife disappeared without trace? And will Nate find a way to convince Kyra that spinsterhood doesn’t suit her…

THE UNEXPECTED DUKE by Monica Fairview
A carriage accident, an inheritance, and broken promises.
Isabella Chalmers has no intention of becoming a model wife, especially when a marriage of convenience means having to deal with a crumbling mansion and a disagreeable duke…
$2.99 £1.99      CLICK HERE

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Tyranny of Writing.

April 2017

February 2017
These are the books I've written and published so far this year. Well, that isn't quite accurate – The Reclusive Duke is going into the next Regency Romantics box set which will be out this month. Search for a Duke was the last of my Robert Hale books that just needed re-editing so I didn't actually write that one this year.
An Unconventional Bride, the third in The Duke's Alliance series was written last year but published in 2017. The fourth book in this series, An Accommodating Husband, will be out in August. This was written this year. A Most Unexpected Christmas was in the Christmas Regency Romantics box last year. I have written this year's book – A Most Delightful Christmas, and this will be coming back from my editor on Wednesday.
August 2017
Currently I am writing the second in a YA paranormal romance, (the first is with a teenage beta reader and has never been published) and also about to start the second in the Ellen's War series. I've also got on my to-do list writing the fourth and final book in The Nightingale Chronicles, All's Well That Ends Well. I will also need a Regency for the spring box set ready by March next year.
As well as writing these books I also have two rounds of edits and two proof reads for each one, as well as having to organise covers, blurbs et cetera. On top of that there is the never-ending round of social media, marketing and promotion to fit in somewhere.
September 2017
Because sales and pageviews are no longer strong I've also started to take my World War II and Victorian books out of Kindle Select. D2D handle some of the platforms but I'm putting them on Nook and Kobo myself. So far I've got three books transferred and by the middle of August all eleven will be available on all platforms. It remains to be seen if this works – but I've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by spreading myself wider.
I think you get the picture – the more you write the more you have to do. If I only wrote one book a year my life would be so much simpler.
For the past three years I've been obsessed with my writing – not content unless I had written a minimum of fifteen hundred words a day every day of the year. Now that I'm less successful sales wise it's given me a moment to step away and reconsider.
January 2017
July 2017
As most of you know I am my husband's carer, he has vascular dementia as well as the usual problems associated with being eighty-five. I cannot leave him on his own but have a wonderful carer who comes in when I go out once a week. I also have to get up most nights so I'm not getting the sleep I require to function at 100%. In the past six weeks his condition has deteriorated and he needs me more than he did before. I don't know how much longer I will have him with me so he is now my priority.
Therefore, I'm no longer writing as much or feel unhappy if I've not written a certain amount by the end of the day. I don't check my sales, indeed I'm no longer disappointed that I'm not in the top one hundred writers any more.
I love writing and will never stop; as long as my brain allows me to work I will be publishing books every year until I die. However, I'm not driven as I was and I'm happier for it. Writing is an all-consuming passion if you let it be. A very good friend of mine told me she intends to write nine books a year – I'm going to be satisfied with whatever I can produce. In future I'll not agonise over my writing or consider myself a failure if I don't stick to a punishing schedule.
I am a writer and always will be, but in future I'm going to be kinder to myself, not set impossible goals and not feel guilty when I fail to reach targets.
I've written over fifty books in thirteen years – that's something to be proud of and something not many writers will achieve in their lifetimes.
I'm going to have a second hot chocolate and make my husband a coffee then watch rubbish TV and read a book. If I don't write anything at all today it no longer matters. To quote a family saying, "life's too short to stuff a mangetout."
Fenella J Miller