Happy Sunday folks! I’m really pleased to let you all know that I am running a giveaway on Goodreads. One paperback copy of Ethersay is up for grabs and the giveaway is free to enter, so what are you waiting for?!! Just click below to enter.
Happy new year and welcome to my first blog post of 2018!
Today’s post is all about reflections and resolutions. 2017 was a great year for me in terms of writing – I joined a writers’ group, I honed my short story writing skills, and at the end of the year I released my third novel, Ethersay.
I’ve spent the first few days of 2018 thinking hard about what I want to achieve this year. I try not to make resolutions for the new year as such, since I generally find that I’m just setting myself up for a great big fall. However, I do have a list of goals which I am going to aim for this year. So, in no particular priority order:
- Finish the third book in my Witches of Pendle series. I’ve had some draft chapters hanging around for a little while now, but then Ethersay took over and I just had to go with it. But now is the time to finish the trilogy. So, historical fiction fans, hopefully you won’t have too long to wait.
- Get working on my next contemporary novel. The feedback I’ve had on Ethersay has really spurred me on to dip my toe into contemporary writing for a second time. I spent my Christmas break in perfect rural, rustic surroundings and I found this really inspiring; so inspiring, in fact, that I have a new story outline scribbled down. Watch this space…
- Start researching for my next historical novel. Currently I have the tiniest seed of an idea for a future historical piece. Well, actually, I have a few tiny seeds. So this year I aim to decide which one of these I want to start working on and then, I need to start doing some research. And who knows, if my chosen idea works, it might grow into a new historical novel!
- Get some short stories into print/online publications. This goal really alluded me last year. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and entered competition after competition but unfortunately to no avail. This has taught me that the market for competitions and publication in magazines/literary reviews is extremely competitive. But I believe in my work so I’m going to keep going and, what’s more, I’m going to diversify and broaden my options; for example, looking more at online platforms and blogspots as well as the well-established and traditional choices for making submissions.
- Keep talking about my work. I’m the worst for being coy when it comes to this, but I know that it really is a must. I am a self-published author; I have no marketing department behind me and no enormous advertising budget. But I do have my work and if I’ve learned anything on this journey, it’s that the only way for people to know about your books is for you to talk about them! During 2018 I’ll be on the lookout for more opportunities to do just that, as well as keeping my Twitter, Facebook and this website up to date.
Phew, so that’s it, my 2018 goals! I hope you’ll all stick around for the ride in 2018 and hopefully by the time 2019 rolls around you will have at least one more book from me to get stuck into.
Hello! I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday. Today I’m taking a short break from all the seasonal revelry to bring you all a wee treat! I’m really pleased to reveal the musical version of the Ethersay trailer to you. It’s funny how doing something as simple as removing the narrative from a film can give it a slightly different feel. Like the original trailer with voiceover, I’m really proud of these films and so grateful to Stewart Kerr Brown of The Imagination Engine and actor Jodi Findlay for all their hard work. I hope you enjoy watching, and enjoy the new year when it comes!
It’s nearly Christmas! Who’s excited?!! I know everyone in the King household is feeling very festive – the gifts are wrapped, the mulled wine is ready, the kids are hyper with excitement. All we need now is some snow! Not too much, though, just a little bit will do!
For those who haven’t seen it, the video recordings of the launch event for Ethersay, which was held earlier in December, are now online. Due to the length of the recordings there’s two parts. So, click on each link below to see me answering questions from the host for the event, Fiona Hyslop MSP, and the audience on Ethersay, writing, influences and inspiration and to hear me read a little from the book.
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.
Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to this week’s top ten! This week’s list is all about books I hope a certain bearded man in the red suit will bring me. To keep things interesting, and so that this list doesn’t just repeat my book choices on recent Top Ten TBR lists, I have decided to make this week’s top ten a top five and choose a selection of Scottish books which I really want to read. Hopefully Santa will see my list and bring me some of these titles!
“James Machie was a man with a genius for violence, his criminal empire spreading beyond Glasgow into the UK and mainland Europe. Fortunately, James Machie is dead, assassinated in the back of a prison ambulance following his trial and conviction.
But now, five years later, he is apparently back from the grave, set on avenging himself on those who brought him down. Top of his list is his previous associate, Frank MacDougall, who unbeknownst to D.C.I. Jim Daley, is living under protection on his lochside patch, the small Scottish town of Kinloch. Daley knows that, having been the key to Machie’s conviction, his old friend and colleague D.S. Scott is almost as big a target. And nothing, not even death, has ever stood in James Machie’s way.”
“From the streets of working class Scotland, and on occasion, a little beyond our solar system, comes one of the country’s most hilarious debut writers. Putting surreal and witty twists on the everyday, Chris McQueer creates recognisable characters you will love and want to avoid like the plague.
Peter’s earned his night off, and there’s not a bloody chance he’s covering Shelley’s shift. He just needs to find some pals for the perfect cover story. Deek is going to be at the forefront of the outsider art movement and do Banksy proud. Davie loves tattoos and his latest is going to be a masterpiece. Tam is one of the most creative minds in the galaxy (apparently), but creating parallel universes can cause problems.
Everybody on Earth wakes up with their knees on backwards.
He caught folks’ imagination on Medium with his stories, had rooms howling with laughter on the spoken word circuit, and now it’s time to put Chris McQueer on the page. Are you ready?”
“An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run…
“When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”
Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him–and their money.
Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s the Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.
Heart-warming and heart-breaking, this darkly comic debut is from a fresh voice set to become Scotland’s answer to Roddy Doyle.”
“Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh’s medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and—perhaps worst of all—her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.
Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city’s ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St Giles’ Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah’s patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.
Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patient’s, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh’s dank alleyways, bawdy houses and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh’s most lucrative trades, and, in doing so, puts her own life at risk…
An irresistible read with a fantastic heroine, beautifully drawn setting, fascinating insights into what it was like to study medicine as a woman at that time, The Wages of Sin is a stunning debut that heralds a striking new voice in historical fiction.”
“IN 2020, BRITAIN IS AT BREAKING POINT…
In a country sorely divided, what happens to empathy and tolerance, to generosity of spirit? And can hope survive?
In 2020, years of economic turmoil, bitter debates over immigration, and anger at the political elites have created a maelstrom, a dis-United Kingdom. The country is a bomb waiting to explode. Then it does.
As the nightmare unfolds, a myriad of voices from across the political and social spectrum offer wildly differing perspectives on the chaotic events… and unexpectedly reveal modern Britain’s soul with 20/20 acuity.
Thoughtful, compassionate and sometimes provocative, Kenneth Steven’s 2020 is a parable for our times.”
Over to you – what books are you hoping Santa brings at Christmas? Feel free to comment below or on social media!
Happy Friday, folks! So, two realisations struck me this morning. The first was that it is only ten days until Christmas (I know, how on earth did that come around again so quick?!!). The other was that it has already been two weeks since Ethersay was released. I just can’t believe where the time has gone, which I suppose is what happens when you’re busy. And no doubt about it, these last two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind, between the launch, doing online events, and taking bookings for future events, I’ve barely had chance to draw breath!
So, today’s post is all about taking stock and saying thank you. Thank you to everyone who has bought Ethersay in the last two weeks. Thank you to those who managed to get along to the launch or who participated in my online party or one of the online events which I guest-hosted. Thank you to those who have liked and shared my posts about Ethersay on social media. Thank you to all those who have been in touch with me to tell me how much you enjoyed the book. Thank you to those who have left a review on Amazon, Goodreads or somewhere else on the internet. And thank you to those who have told a friend about Ethersay, or who have bought it for a friend or loved one as a Christmas gift.
All the advertising in the world does not come anywhere near the power of word of mouth and personal recommendation. This is true for all writers but especially important, I think, for indie authors – without a vast marketing machine at our fingertips we are so, so reliant on people talking about our books. So, once again, thank you.
I have been absolutely blown away by the great reception that Ethersay has received, and really delighted by some of the reviews readers have left. Here are a few quotes from what readers have said on Amazon UK and US:
“A book you can lose yourself in on a winter day…I have honestly never read anything like it.”
“I was hooked from the start. Strongly recommend.”
“Exciting and well-paced.”
“The way King infused Scotland’s political history into the story was brilliant, and all the mystery, suspense, and drama kept me intrigued and clutching my chest at times.”
As a writer, there is no better reward than hearing that someone has enjoyed your book. So, I’m going to say it again, thank you!
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.
Well, it’s that time of year again – Christmas is upon us and soon after 2018 will follow. A perfect opportunity, I think, to reflect on the most enjoyable books of the year with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Books of 2017.
This week’s top ten selection is an eclectic mix, pulling from different genres – contemporary, historical, fantasy and even crime – and a variety of authors. Some books are bestsellers, some are perhaps less well-known. Some are published traditionally, others are self-published (can I get a cheer for indie authors – woop!). But all are amazing. Ready? Let’s go!
I know I have probably raved about this book to anyone who will listen to me this year but honestly, it’s just amazing. I have never read anything quite like it and it gave me a total book hangover which is always a good sign. I believe this book has done pretty well this year, topping the bestsellers’ lists and winning accolades aplenty, including a spot on the shortlist for the Costa First Novel Award and WH Smith’s Book of the Year 2017. Not bad for a debut novel, I’d say. Read my full review here.
Another debut novel and another book that I have recommended to many, many people this year. I loved this book so much that I bought a copy for my mum for her birthday. It is such a sweet and unusual story, and I adore how Fergie builds the narrative around an object. Published by the crowdfunding publisher Unbound, this book seems to be cropping up on readers’ choice lists around the internet, and deservedly so. A refreshing, cheerful read. Read my full review here.
The second installment of indie author KJ Farnham’s Click Date Repeat series was a real treat. A lovely, funny tale flawlessly told, filled with memorable characters and plenty of online dating mishaps! A great read to curl up with during the festive season. Read my full review here.
Probably my favourite historical novel of the year, Glasfurd’s tale of philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes through the eyes of maid Helena is as thought-provoking as it is enjoyable. A beautifully drawn story which was nominated for the Costa First Novel Award in 2016. Read my full review here.
Well, we were only ever going to get so far into one of my top ten lists before an M J Rose book would crop up. The second installment in her historical fantasy series, Daughters of La Lune, had me transfixed. Highly recommended.
The stories of Margaret Tudor, Mary Tudor and Katherine of Aragon beautifully interwoven by the Queen of historical fiction. I always enjoy Gregory’s books and often find that they spark new interests in me, urging me to learn more about everything and everyone from Katheryn Parr to the Wars of the Roses. This book was no different and I have read widely about Margaret Tudor in particular since.
Another great story from an indie author, Hutchison’s coming-of-age tale about the relationship which grows between a teenage girl and an older man as they both grapple with grief and trauma is mesmerising. I read this book during my summer holidays and struggled to put it down.
The second book in the Avelynn series from Canadian author Marissa Campbell is as action-packed as the first. Expect romance, magic and so much danger that you will be on the edge of your seat! Loved both books in this series and would strongly recommend them for lovers of Viking/Saxon historical fiction.
Yes I know, another one from M J Rose – sorry, not sorry! I really do love her books, and my first foray into her Reincarnationist series did not disappoint. Plenty of action, plenty of magic, plenty of twists – just the way I like my books.
Whilst I’m not much of a crime fiction reader, this book was recommended to me by a friend and it really did not disappoint. Great gritty characters, grizzly murders and a gripping ‘whodunnit?’ all made for a fabulous read. Check out my full review here.
Over to you! What were your favourite books of 2017? Feel free to comment below!
Happy Tuesday folks! This weekend was very busy and exciting, with Ethersay keeping me well and truly occupied! Since the book came out on Thursday I have held online events, done some guest blogging and of course, held the paperback launch in my hometown, Armadale in West Lothian, on Sunday.
The launch event was immensely successful and I would like to thank all those who came along to support me – the turnout was excellent! I would also like to thank local MSP Fiona Hyslop for hosting the event. Here are some photos from the day:
The launch event also saw the premiere of the trailer for Ethersay, created by Stewart Kerr Brown of The Imagination Engine and starring West Lothian based actor Jodi Findlay. I am delighted to share the trailer with you – it is available on YouTube and on my Facebook page so if you like it, please do share it!
Today is release day for my third novel, Ethersay.
The full trailer for the novel is still to be released, but here’s a wee snippet of what’s to come:
Are you intrigued yet?
I hope you enjoy the story!
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.
I’m going to be honest from the outset: it’s unlikely that I will manage to read ten books over the winter. Between the craziness that is Christmas and my writing commitments, I’ll be doing well if I manage to read half that number of books. After all, I have barely made a dent in my Autumn TBR. Therefore this week’s top ten is going to be a more realistic top five. I’ll also add in a couple of books I’m looking forward to, which haven’t been released as yet.
Like millions of others I loved The Girl on the Train. I can’t wait to read this next book by Paula Hawkins.
This looks like the perfect book with which to indulge my love of historical fiction based around witch trials.
I read Paisley’s White Rose Rebel a few years ago and recently stumbled across her other works on Goodreads. A novel based in Iron Age Scotland – perfect for winter nights.
Coelho’s Veronika Decides to Die is one of my all-time favourite novels. It’s Coelho’s titles which always catch my eye and I’m very intrigued by this one.
Something a bit lighter and perhaps not my usual genre, but I have heard good things about Woods’ books. I suspect this will be the perfect read to go with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.
And I’m really looking forward to…
By the Time We’re Forty and A Case of Serendipity, both by K.J Farnham. No release date for these novels as yet, but both books now have pages on Goodreads. As I have enjoyed all of Farnham’s previous works, I can’t wait to read both of these and I’m sure they will appear on a future TBR list.
While you’re here…
Thursday November 30th 2017 will see the release of my third novel, Ethersay. To celebrate I am holding an online launch party on Facebook, to which you’re all invited! Join the party here, and apologies for the shameless plug.
So what about your own Winter TBR lists? Please feel free to share your own plans in the comments or via social media.