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

Monday, 6 January 2020

New Year - New Me?

I'm a bit late wishing you all a happy New Year, but the days merge one into the other when you have to spend five days a week visiting a care home. I always return after spending an entire morning there feeling quite exhausted. Heaven knows how the wonderful staff stay focused and caring with so much going on.
I hope you had a good Christmas – I did – although my husband was very poorly and needed consecutive lots of antibiotics in order to get rid of very unpleasant chest infection. It's his birthday tomorrow and I've baked two cakes to take in.
My son bought me a box of Hotel du Chocolat chocolates the size of a cartwheel – thank goodness my brother took a tub of them home with him. They are quite delicious and absolutely irresistible. It doesn't matter how many heavy boxes I put on top of the chocolate box I still know that they are there and go and get some when I want them. They are now on top of a bookshelf which requires me to stand on a step to get them down.
Now – to return to my title. New Year – New Me – I wasn't just referring to trying to get fitter, thinner and stop colouring my hair, but also to changes I intend to make in my writing life.
My sales of my indie books on Amazon are a third of what they used to be – too many indie writers writing too many good Regency romances. As I now write two long books for Aria – Head of Zeus a year I don't really have time to produce six of my own titles which I have to sell at a ridiculously low price in order to satisfy demand.
My PC is giving me problems. Dragon won't connect to a mic - have spent hours trying to get tech people to sort it. This has slowed my writing down almost to a standstill.
I've come to a decision. In future I'm not going to check sales, reviews, author and book rankings – I'm just going to write what I want to write and publish it when it suits me. Fortunately, sales with Aria are going up and I'm hoping that once I've got a dozen books with them it won't really matter about royalties from the others. Also the Regency Romantics is no more. We've called it a day and this is the very last box set.
I moved last September into a lovely modern bungalow with a garden three times the size of the one I had before. I intend to spend more time out there and less sitting here.
One would have thought that since my husband no longer lives with me, but is in care, that I would have more time but the reverse is true. I only have two days a week when I don't visit and one of them is family day when my son, daughter-in-law and six year old grandson come for lunch and the other has to be for hair, doctor and osteopath appointments. This leaves me little time for socialising, which is a shame.
I'm involved with an exciting collaborative WW2 project but can't tell you about this yet.
2019 was pants - hoping 2020 will be better for all of us.
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Monday, 2 December 2019

End of Year Plans

Are you ready for the festive season/holidays/Christmas? I'm one of those irritating people that always gets things done by the beginning of December. My cards are written and will be posted today, gifts are wrapped and under the tree, and Christmas food orders are placed.
I eventually started the first book in the next series for Aria – Head of Zeus which will follow the stories of three friends in the WAAF. The deadline for this book is April next year and the second book must be finished and handed in by November. I intend to finish the first one by the end of January.
I will then write the last book in my Regency Duke series and a Christmas themed Regency, and hopefully one other stand-alone Regency as well.
I've decided my next big project will be another four book Victorian series, a follow-up to the Nightingale Chronicles. These four books will chart the lives of Sarah and Alfie's children. This will allow me to write in the later part of Queen Victoria's reign.
I find that I'm not writing as eagerly or as fast as I did previously but I continue to enjoy the process and as long as I do, I'll continue. The sales of my Regency books have dipped disastrously this year – I'm not sure why. I think that there are many many more excellent Regency writers than there were when I started and competition is really fierce.
What are your plans for 2020?
I don't make resolutions as I never stick to them. I make plans and these can be flexible. I just list what I hope – intend - to do on the work front. On the personal front I'm going to join Slimming World and make a serious attempt to get back to the weight I used to be a few years ago. I'm also letting my hair go grey – if I don't like it I can always have it coloured again.
I have no plans to go abroad – I didn't enjoy my last venture – but I'm going to the sixtieth RNA celebrations at their annual conference in July. I'm driving to Bedford, staying overnight with a friend, and then she will drive the second half of the journey. We will then repeat the process in reverse. This means being away for five nights and six days. I need to find someone to come in and feed the cat and arrange visitors for my husband.
I also hope that my old house will sell as it's been on the market since April. I've had three offers but none of them finalised.
I'm also making a serious effort to cut down on my carbon footprint, reuse rather than recycle and take more care of my immediate environment.
Wishing you all a happy holidays and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Friday, 1 November 2019

New Box Set - Victoria's War

$0.99 /£0.99
I am delighted to tell you that this month I've republished Victoria's War as a box set. I've written almost 70 books in the past fifteen years and I think these two are my favourites.
The first part of the book is set in India in nineteen thirty-nine and I used my mother's memoir for authenticity. She, like the heroine Victoria, was an Anglo-Indian daughter of a Raja and was living with her Indian family when war broke out in nineteen thirty-nine.
There is a new genre of sagas which is gaining ground with publishing and this niche is called an "exotic saga". These books fall into that category.
My current publisher, although they loved the books, thought the voice was too different from the one I am using now in my Spitfire Girl series.
These books were published several years ago and never took off – they were unpublished  two years ago so there will be a lot of new readers who haven't seen them before.
I do hope that this time Victoria's War binds a larger audience.
The second book in The Reluctant Duke series, The Duke's Decision, will be on preorder next month for release in February 2020.

I know there are many writers who thoroughly disapprove of discounting books as I have done in this case. I'm still of the opinion that if your books have already sold enough to make you the profit that you wanted, then using them to attract new readers at a bargain price is a good marketing move.
A very good friend discounted her enormous backlist and has become a bestseller in America for the first time and is now making almost a six-figure return.
Until next time
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

New Home - New Box Set

Pre Order Now
I am sad to tell you that that this is the last Regency Romantics box set. We have been doing it for five years and all find ourselves no longer able to write two or three books a year as well as the books that we've been contracted to write by traditional publishers. I think there have been around sixteen editions over the years which have all been well received.
JD Smith has supplied wonderful covers for us for which we thank her. Monica Fairview, Amanda Grange, Melinda Hammond, Elizabeth Bailey, Wendy Soliman and myself have enjoyed working together. We will stay in touch.
Maybe in a year or two we might reconvene and perhaps produce another box set but at the moment that seems unlikely.
I am now contracted to write three further books for Aria – Head of Zeus which takes me to April 2021. I'm also doing a novella to add to  others written by a group of World War II writers. This will be published next May some time to coincide with the 75th celebration of VE day. I'm also trying to write at least three new Regency books a year as well but I don't have as much time as I used to.
One would think that having my husband in care would give me more time to write, but as I go to visit most days I actually find I have less.
I moved two weeks ago to a brand-new bungalow in a delightful development in a small village close to Clacton where his care home is situated. It's now only twelve minutes instead of thirtyfive to visit him.
I think my son, niece and myself have unpacked over a hundred boxes and there are still twenty more to do once they come from the garage across the square. They had to be stored there because the shed I ordered has failed to arrive. It will be installed tomorrow if it's not raining.My brother has come to put up pictures/make shelves/put together bookcases etc etc. Thank goodness for family!!
This means that by the end of next week, with luck, I'll be properly settled.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Is it too soon for a Christmas book?

For me it's never too soon to start thinking about Christmas. Last year was an absolute write off as far as I was concerned because my beloved husband was in hospital, desperately ill, with a broken hip and not expected to recover. He did – as you know – get over this but then broke his other hip and had a further six weeks in hospital. He is now in an excellent care home but has just had a second stroke and I don't think the prognosis is good.
However, I'm ever the optimist and refuse to consider anything but having a good Christmas this year. I shall be in my new home – a delightful brand-new bungalow only ten minutes away from where my husband is now living – and have had an extra outside electrical socket put in so I can plug in my array of ridiculous Christmas lights.

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This brings me to the question I posed as my title to this blog: is the start of September too early to be thinking about Christmas titles?
A Christmas Betrothal is my offering for this year – don't you just love the cover? It has been released whilst we are still having temperatures in the 20s. There is a definite autumnal nip to the air – but summer is still going strong in Clacton (where my husband is now living).
I've already got my Christmas cards – admittedly quite a lot from last year as I didn't send many – and have started buying little gifts to give the wonderful staff at the care home my husband is in.
I've seen on Facebook that several people have already noticed tins of Christmas sweets are on sale in many supermarkets and also Christmas cards.
It always seems strange to me that shops bring out the Christmas things before Halloween – which is now much more of a thing in the UK, but not as big as it is in the US.
There is then a clash of orange and black alongside the red and gold of the Christmas decorations. If you don't buy what you want by the end of October there will be nothing of interest left on the shelf. 
I think Christmas is a time of hope over expectation – it is a time for family, friends and spiritual contemplation but over the past decades it has been reduced to a commercial event in which so many families overspend because they don't want to disappoint their children.
My little grandson has something new every week – not expensive – but a new toy of some sort. His parents aren't entirely comfortable with this but it's the normal now amongst his peers and if they didn't follow suit they fear he would feel left out. I give him a pound a week pocket money and so do his parents and he also saves this until he has enough to buy something bigger.
Next time I talk to you I will be living somewhere else.
Until October,
best wishes
Fenella J Miller