Saturday, 1 August 2020

Writing in a pandemic.

I'm one of the lucky ones in that I've written and published more books this year than I have for a long time. I usually visit my husband, who is in care, five or six days a week but with the arrival of this virus all visits were stopped for eleven weeks.
Unfortunately, the care home is back in lockdown because of a spike in the area and I'm not visiting at all at the moment.
So far this year I've written a book for my publisher, The Girls in Blue, which is due out in December and I'm halfway through the next book for them which is due to be handed in in October. I've also written these two books to finish my bestselling Barbara's War series. A Long Way Back is already published but The Conclusion won't be out until the end of the year or possibly in the New Year.
I've also written three Regencies, A Solitary Duke, is out and The Duke's Predicament, the final book in The Reluctant Duke series, will be out later this month. I've also got a Christmas Regency ready to go in October.
I should be able to write two more Regencies before I have to start the final book in my current contract in the New Year.
If I wasn't a writer I think I would have found it difficult to cope with the isolation of lockdown. I also suffer from bouts of depression but fortunately have only had one episode in the past four months. Writing for me is a lifesaver – literally – and I hope that there are others like me who've been able to get through these past difficult months because they could lose themselves in their work.
I know several writers who've not been able to work at all and that must just have made things even more difficult for them.
I can't see things going back to normal for another year – if then. The only positive thing about this pandemic for writers is that readers are reading more of their books.
Nobody is mentioning the Brexit word but I can't see that going smoothly in January – can you?
If you're a writer keep writing, if you're a reader keep reading and everyone keep safe. The virus is still with us and we need to be vigilant if we're going to eventually come out of this.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Has the lockdown improved things for writers or the reverse?

For twelve weeks I wasn't able to go and see my husband at his care home and this gave me more time to write. In fact, writing was what kept me sane. Also, eating chocolate – I'm now struggling to lose the weight that I put on.
So far this year I've written a 95,000 word book for Aria – Head of Zeus – The Girls in Blue will come out in October. This is the first in a three book series about girls in the WAAF.
Then I wrote the third and final book in my, The Reluctant Duke, series, The Duke's Predicament, which will be out next month.
I have also written a full-length Regency, A Solitary Duke, which is currently on sale and doing very well – thank you to those who have already bought it. And then I've written a shorter book for Christmas, A Christmas Conundrum, which will be out in September.
I have just finished writing the fifth and final book in my bestselling Barbara's War series, The Conclusion, which will go to my editor next month and hopefully be out in November.

I'm about to start writing the second book in The Girls in Blue series as this has to be handed in by October.
This will then give me three months to write the first in a new six book Regency series, The Earl's Inheritance, and this will be out in January next year. I also hope to write another stand-alone Regency – but I don't usually write as much in December so maybe I won't get that done.
I might actually have written nine books by the end of the year and this wouldn't have happened in normal circumstances.Thank God I'm a writer and have something interesting and worthwhile to be doing whilst I'm trapped at home.
Fortunately, I can now see my husband for half an hour every day, if it's not raining, outside the care home in the garden. This will obviously stop when the weather deteriorates and I can't see anyone being allowed to visit inside care homes any time soon. He's very happy where he is – so it's harder for me than for him not be able to go in.
I know that a lot of writers have found self isolation counter-productive and are finding writing impossible. I'm one of the lucky ones.
The positive side for all writers about this horrible virus is that people are reading more.
Whatever anyone says this isn't going to go away unless people continue to take care, socially distance and follow the advice given by medical people.
Stay in and stay safe
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

A Long Way bAck on preorder.

I'm delighted to tell you that the fourth book in my bestselling Barbara's War series, A Long Way Back, is now available on preorder.
This was a completely new way of writing for me as it's not a romance, it's a historical adventure written entirely from the hero's point of view.
Alex Everton was shot down over France and this short book tracks his life over the next few months as an evader.
I'm currently writing the fifth and final book in this series which will take Alex and Barbara to the end of the war.
This book is halfway written and it will be coming out in January next year.
I'll have to abandon it before it's finished as I have a contracted book due to be handed in on October 10th. The first book in this new series, The Girls in Blue, is now with the copy editor and this will be out at the beginning of October.

It's been a very difficult year for all of us and I hope that by the autumn things will be gradually getting back to normal. I'm going to see my beloved husband for the first time in three months this afternoon. They are going to open the double doors at the front and he can sit in his wheelchair and I can talk to him from a safe distance. Not quite the same but I'm so looking forward to seeing him.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Friday, 1 May 2020

Writing keeps me sane.
It's been a difficult month for everyone. I hope that you and your loved ones have stayed safe by socially distancing and following the rules. I don't think I'll be able to see my beloved husband for months but at least he's safe where he is when many in care homes have died.
Being obliged to stay indoors has given me more time to write and I'm just about to complete my third Regency since the lockdown started in the UK.
The first one – A Solitary Duke – is set in Margate and has humour, adventure and, of course, love. This is on preorder at the moment and will be released later this month.
The second book I've written is the final book in my, The Reluctant Duke series, The Duke's Predicament. This is with my editor at the moment and will be released in August.
The third book I'm halfway through writing is a Christmas novella, A Christmas Conundrum, and this will be out in September.
I should then have time to write another novella this time to follow up on, A Long Way Back, which is linked to my very successful Barbara's War series. A Long Way Back will be coming out in June so look out for it. I don't have a title for the one I'm going to write next month and again I'll let you know when I do.
My garden is looking wonderful as I managed buy summer bedding plants and perennials from a local nursery who are now delivering.
Stay in and stay safe.
Until next month
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Will anything positive come out of this dreadful crisis?

As a writer I'm in a unique position as I always work from home anyway. Not being able to visit my beloved husband is heartbreaking, not being able to see my son and daughter-in-law and grandson is equally hard. However, I've written a book in just over three weeks which will be published next month.
People my age, the crumblies of the world, are the most vulnerable to this horrible disease but we're also on a fixed income which isn't affected by the lockdown. I'm fortunate indeed to have a state pension, a teachers' pension as well as my writing income. I live in a comfortable brand-new bungalow with a lovely garden and neighbours across the mews who will buy anything I ran out of.
I can't imagine how hard it is for those whose income has been either reduced by 20% or vanished altogether. How does a homeless person manage? How do those whose income relied entirely on selling the Big Issue manage?
Also the children will fall so far behind with their education it might be impossible for them to catch up especially those at secondary school with exams to face. Families are now locked in together spending every waking hour under each other's feet – small wonder people are predicting a massive rise in domestic abuse and also in babies in nine months time.
I'm lucky I can keep sane by writing. Most people who are self isolating don't have that luxury. Depression and mental illness is going to be as a major issue in the weeks to come.
Will the world change for the better once this is over? I doubt it, but hope to be proved wrong. I think the gap between the haves and have-nots will widen, millions will be pushed into the poverty bracket and many things we have taken for granted will no longer be available to us.
There are, of course, thousands of stories about people going above and beyond – not just the amazing frontline people in the NHS and so on – but ordinary people helping out quietly, making sure their neighbours are safe and well.
In Venice because the tourists and cruise ships have stopped the canals have now got dolphins and fish – but the city relies entirely on tourists for its income so as soon as the restrictions are lifted things will revert.
Over China the ozone layer is repairing itself because there's been no fossil fuel run industry – which shows that the environment could be saved. However, I'm certain once the virus is defeated China will go back to polluting the atmosphere.
I'd like to think that people will reflect on this pandemic, value the small things in life again, be kinder to each other, be less wasteful of valuable resources – but the realist in me thinks this highly unlikely.
What do you think? Will this catastrophe leave the world a better place or is the worst yet to come?

Until next time
Fenella J Miller

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Good news and March moans.

As far as I'm concerned Saint David's day is the start of spring – weather is certainly springlike today.
Everywhere you look there's bad news – coronavirus, climate change, politics, flooding and so on – and on the writing front, for many of us, things look pretty bleak as well.
I just read a long interesting article from an American writer saying that only those who have financial support from partners/parents et cetera can afford to write full-time. Writers on the whole, she says, need a second income as the median amount earned is less than four thousand dollars a year.
Four years ago I was making double the amount I'm making now – which is still a livable amount, just – but I would be panicking if I had to rely on it. Fortunately, I have two pensions as well as my writing money.
I don't think of myself as one of the successful ones but having read this article I think that I'm actually doing a lot better than I thought.
I achieved my dream of being a published writer fifteen years ago and now have written around sixty-five books most of which have been published in one way or another.
I write because I want to – that's a luxury, I know. I hope I can keep writing for another decade at least. I would love to see my books in a supermarket/bookshop but doubt that will happen. I don't have the energy or inclination to do the promotional work in marketing that sort of success requires.

Now for the good news: The final book in my first series for Aria Head of Zeus, The Spitfire Girl:Over and Out, is now available on pre order.
Also The Road to Liberation -10 book collection of WW2 books is still at low price of £2.99.

Until next time
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

The Road to Liberation -exciting new project.

I am delighted to tell you that I can finally reveal the exciting project I became involved with last year. I was invited to be one of ten World War II writers and contribute a brand-new book that would fit under the umbrella title of The Road to Liberation.
My contribution, A Long Way Back, feels in the missing nine months when Alex Everton, the hero of my Barbara's War series is missing from the final book having been shot down somewhere over France.
I hope those of you that enjoyed this series – and there were thousands of you I'm happy to say – will also enjoy finding out exactly what happened to Alex. Writing entirely from a man's point of view, no romance, just Alex and his friends as they face danger, disaster and tragedy in their fight to get back to England and their families and their life of heroism and sacrifice in the RAF.
The ten books are on preorder and will be released on fifth of May to coincide with the celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of VE Day. For the next week this collection of excellent books is available at this ridiculous price of $0.99 & £0.99 to allow our readers to buy the book. The price will be increasing steadily until it reaches the full price on publication, so now is the time to order it.

For Squadron Leader Alex Everton dogfights in his Spitfire are a piece of cake compared to being an evader. It’s a long way back to Blighty.

A raid over Dieppe seems like a piece of cake for Squadron Leader Alex Everton. His squadron is in reserve – but the Luftwaffe have other ideas. When his Spitfire is shot down Alex bales out expecting to drown or be incarcerated in a German prisoner of war camp for the duration. Instead, he becomes an evader – if his luck holds he will be home with his beloved wife Babs eventually. It is a long way from Dieppe to Gibraltar and his journey is fraught with danger, disaster and difficulty.

Don't miss this amazing opportunity to have ten books, which include not only mine but books US from bestselling authors.

Best wishes
Fenella J Miller