Friday 27 March 2015

A Cornish Maid - inspired by the original version of Poldark.

£0.99 / $0.99
I am delighted to tell you that I have just republished A Cornish Maid, first released in 2010 by Musa, and I think that the brilliant Jane Dixon-Smith has captured exactly the feeling I wanted.
I sold my first book exactly ten years ago this month – forty books written to date and most of them now published – and decided that I am going to start this second decade with a different style of cover. What do you think?
My Demelza is quite different from the Poldark Demelza, she is gently bred but orphaned and fallen on hard times. She has glorious black hair whereas the Demelza in Poldark has red hair.
My hero, Lucas Fairfield, has fair hair, but in all other respects I hope he is as attractive as the current Ross Poldark. Lucas does a fair bit of shirt removing as well. He was also a  soldier, but he was recently returned from the Peninsular and not the Colonies.
Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean)
All my previous Regency heroes were written with Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) firmly in mind, but from now on it will  have to be Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner). Both fictional heroes share the same characteristics – in fact they have the characteristics that are essential in order to be a good hero. A hero, in my opinion, must be honest, kind, intelligent, brave, have a sense of humour and be physically attractive. Both Richard Sharpe and Ross Poldark, both brought to life by brilliant actors, epitomize a hero.
Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner)

In the small Cornish village of Tregorran, Demelza struggles to keep the family house intact and care for her young brothers and sister after the deaths of their parents. Knowing that she is losing the battle, she agrees to take in a paying guest: handsome Lucas Fairfield. But the growing attraction between the two seems doomed from the start. With Lucas obliged to return to his ancestral manor and Demelza devoted to caring for her siblings and own familial home in Tregorran, Cornwall. Can they ever find happiness together? (.uk) (.com)

Fenella J Miller

Thursday 19 March 2015

Victoria's War: Shadows – inspired by my mother's memoirs.

I'm delighted to tell you that the first part of the World War II family saga which was inspired by my mother's memoirs, is now live on Amazon. My mother was Anglo-Indian and the daughter of a Rajah. She went out to join her father and his family in 1935 and stayed for four years.The first few chapters of the book are set in India in 1939 and several of the events actually happened.
£2.99 - out now.
Victoria in no way resembles my mother, but the descriptions of the palace, jungle and various other things are based on actual accounts. I shall be publishing the  memoirs in the summer and already have a fabulous cover for them.
The second part of the book, Victoria's War: Reunited, he's ready to go to my proofreader and will be out in May or June this year.
I loved writing this book, it is different to my other World War II books as a lot of it is set abroad. It opens in India in 1939, then moves to Essex, to Africa, India and Burma, then to Boston USA and ends in London in 1950.

Victoria Bahani, the spoilt, privileged daughter of the Rajah of Marpur and an English woman has always believed she would marry an Englishman and not an Indian. When she meets Captain Henry Hindley-Jones on the train to Delhi she knows he is exactly the kind of man she and her mother had been thinking of. 
However, things are changing in India and her father no longer approves of the British. Marrying Henry means she must give up her Indian heritage and become an Englishwoman – will she live to regret her impulsive decision? (.uk) (.com)

Saturday 14 March 2015

To KU or not to KU?

There has been a lot of chatter on various loops over the past few weeks about whether Amazon's Kindle Unlimited has been a disaster or a triumph for author-publishers.
I have come to the conclusion that it depends what price your books are, how many books you have available and what genre you write in.
Just in case any of you don't know what I'm talking about I will give a brief explanation. K U is similar to Net-flicks or iTunes – you subscribe for £8.99 or $9.99 a month and can then borrow up to 10 books at a time. If you want to borrow an eleventh book then you have to return one of the books already  on your device. You can keep these books as long as you want – but I don't know if you can borrow the same book  a second time as I've not actually tried to do so.
There are around 75000 books in the system, the majority are author-published, but not all of them. Amazon put in a pot of money each month and, depending how many borrowers there are, the amount given to each author for each loan can vary. As the dollar is so strong at the moment $1.50 means that each borrow is worth £1. Amazon introduced a bonus system last year – if your sales put you in the top hundred you get a substantial payment, and if a book is in the top hundred you get another payment. I've been fortunate to get four of these author bonuses so far.
Now, for me, as I have forty books and box sets available, and most of them are Regency (a very popular niche market), and all these sell at less than £1.50, you can see that  every borrow gives me massively more than a sale. In the US my loans often outstrip my sales, but not so in the UK.
However, for those writers who price their books at more than £1.99 every loan could be said to be a loss as they would get slightly more from a sale than from a loan, The more expensive the price of the book the bigger the loss. Some writers have pulled out of Amazon Select because  their income has halved. For those authors who have some titles in the system and some out they found that sales for the ones out of the system vanished altogether as readers just borrowed the ones in KU.
I have heard writers say they don't wish their books to be given away free so will not join KU. This is not what is happening, books are not free, they are being borrowed  and for each borrow the writer is given a $1.50 compensation – this seems like a good deal to me. Personally, I believe that people are more likely to try my books if they can borrow them than if they have to buy them. I don't think that someone who has borrowed a book is necessarily the same person who would buy it.
KU has doubled my income and I think it a brilliant system and of benefit to writers and readers alike. I am reading more books than before, and even if I don't like the book I have downloaded, I always flick through to the 10% mark so the author gets their payment.

What do you think? If you are a reader, have you joined? If a writer, are you in the system or out?
I can't be the only writer who thinks KU is fantastic , but all I hear on Facebook or tails of woe and anguish.

Fenella J Miller

Monday 2 March 2015

A Writer's Life

I was wondering what to post about this time and thought it might be interesting for you to know how I work. Are you a planner or a writer that doesn't know what they're going to be doing from one day to the next?
Strangely I am a mixture of the two. When I'm writing a new book I need to have the title first, then the names of the characters and then I have a rough idea in my head what the story is about. That is the extent of my planning for my Regency stories – for my World War II sagas there is usually considerably more.
I keep a record of any names and places– butlers/maids/horses/siblings and family members etc etc then I can make sure I don't use the wrong name and also that I avoid using the same names too often in subsequent books.
I just start writing and then after the first couple of chapters the book begins to write itself.
However, I am a compulsive list maker and plan everything else in my life  to the nth degree. I have already mapped out my work schedule for 2015 – I know exactly what I intend to write – when it must be ready to be sent to the editor/proofreader and when I need to get the cover designed. I have also mapped out what I will publish in 2016 – although I haven't decided the order in which the books will come out – just what I want to write.
When I start a new project I enter in my diary where I expect to be in the book on any given day so that I know when it will be finished. I aim to write ten thousand words a week, as well as keep up with social media, editing and proofreading, research, and all the other things that are part of a busy writer's life.
I am also my husband's carer and try and take him out at least four times a week in the mornings – add to that my three times a week at the gym – and you will see why I need  to plan everything carefully.
Out in July 2015
I try and meet up with friends two or three  times a month and this year I am going to the RNA conference on the Saturday, the ALLi conference on the Friday after the London Book Fair, as well as going to two London shows which will involve me being out for twelve hours at a time. Obviously, because of my home circumstances, going out needs a lot of organisation if my husband is going to be taken care of satisfactorily in my absence.
I love what I do and wouldn't have it any other way. If I didn't have my writing, and all the friends I've made all over the world because of it, I might well feel sorry for myself.
Next time  I will post about 'Victoria's War - Shadows' part one of my two-part family saga which will be published towards the end of this month. This book is very important to me as it was inspired by my mother's memoirs.
Fenella J Miller