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29 November 2016

CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to:  Siena De Salis of | Flinders | NSW |  AU

You have won the Goodreads Book Giveaway

A signed copy of The Last Girl Guide: Diary of a Survivor is winging its way to you as I write.




23 November 2016

News - The Last Girl Guide

Hi all,

The Last Girl Guide is doing very well and I am happy to say the feedback I am getting from readers is very positive. Next up is the news that I have found a producer for the audio book and, all being well, it should be available on Audible early next year.



Trailer News 

The book trailer for The Last Girl Guide is also complete and here is your chance to have a sneak peek  - enjoy!

7 October 2016

Cover Reveal For The Afterland Chronicles Re-Boot

Well, I've been debating for some time whether to update the covers of The Afterland Chronicles Series and I finally decided to do it. So here I can present to you the new covers for the three books in the series.  Your feedback would be welcome,

Karen




3 October 2016

FREE BOOKS

I am offering two free eBooks to everyone who joins my Readers Community. Just follow this link to join 

http://eepurl.com/b4Ldnf


17 September 2016

Noirwich Crime Writing Festival

This week I attended Noirwich Crime Writing Festival and had a fabulous time in spite of the heavy rain.

I particularly enjoyed the Spotlight series - Ian Rankin was awesome, as usual.  He signed books afterwards and provided materials for a display of first and fourth drafts of his latest novel.





I met a lovely bunch of writers at one of the workshops and we have set up The Norfolk and Suffolk Writers' Circle.  If you are an author or aspiring writer, then drop us a line asking join the group and we will see what we can do!

Karen

12 September 2016

Ascension of the Whyte - Audiobook News!

Hi everyone,

You may well have been wondering where I have been the past couple of weeks. Well, I have been away on holiday to the Cotswolds where I visited many literary places including the birthplace of J. K. Rowling and the famous Rose Farm, and Woolpack Inn made famous by Laurie Lee. I even checked out his grave with a beautiful inscription which pronounces, "He lies in the valley he loved."




I also had a well-deserved rest, ate a great deal, drank a little and sat a lot! However, I have not been entirely idle.  I have done much research and written a few thousand words of The Last Girl Guide, and I have arranged to have an audiobook produced for Ascension of the Whyte, which should be available by Christmas.  So if you are an audiobook fan, check back here for updates on the release date.



20 August 2016

New Book Release


I am happy to announce the release of my first Children's Chapter book - Molly Midnight and the Little People. Published under the pen name Tessa Thompson and available now on Amazon.

Molly Midnight is descended from a long line of witches, but their magic is long forgotten. Until the day Molly inherits her Grandfathers doll’s house.

The Midnight family doll’s House holds a secret. Inside, live all of her long-lost ancestors. Now, the lives of these tiny people are under threat - a Witch Hunter has arrived in the village.

Can Molly learn how to use magic in time to save her family and the house full of little people?




"A magical adventure story."

"An enchanting new series, children everywhere will be certain to fall under Molly Midnight's spell!"


12 August 2016

The Last Girl Guide - Coming this winter!

Coming this winter; The Last Girl Guide - an exciting  new Dystopian  Young Adult  Novel - Check back here later for full release details or sign up for updates.
The Last Girl Guide (The Diary of a Survivor)
Everyone is dead. Everyone except Harper, but if you had to choose someone to survive Armageddon alone, you would pick someone like Harper.
The girl has all the qualities you would need. An autistic loner, who, despite suffering years of abuse remains remarkably undamaged; a true survivor - but can anyone survive in a world where they are completely alone - even Harper?
Then there are the dogs, who hunt in packs, nothing living is safe.
Harper records her struggle for survival in a diary. This is her story.
"An electrifying and often touching insight into one girl's struggle to survive in a hostile dystopian world."

Be amongst the first people to read the first two chapters of the draft here!

10 August 2016

The Afterland Chronicles: Distribution Update

Ascension of the Whyte and Ryte of Passage are now available at the following online book retailers:

Apple (operates iBooks stores in 51 countries), Barnes & Noble (US and UK), Scribd, Oyster, Kobo, Yuzu, Blio, and Inktera (formerly Page Foundry). OverDrive (world's largest library ebook platform serving 20,000+ libraries), Baker & Taylor Axis 360Gardners (Askews & Holts and Browns Books for Students), and Odilo (2,100 public libraries in North America, South America, and Europe). 





31 July 2016

A Writers Life - Disasters

Okay, so this week has been a busy week, I planned the complete outlines of the five books that I intended to work on over the next twelve months and even got their cover designs drafted.
Cover Design for my new
Thriller Series - Hoyle & Son
I downloaded a new scrivener app so that I could sync my work onto my iPad for when I had a flash of inspiration and no laptop handy. I was feeling pretty happy with myself, smug even. 

Then, just like there really was some Amish-like God up there waving his divine finger at me and tut-tutting at my shameful display of pride - KERPOW! Everything fell apart. 

Cover design for the third
in the Afterland Chronicles
Series - Ice & Fyre
Maybe I did worship at the feet of that false God of 'Technology' a little too enthusiastically - recklessly even, but the punishment was harsh. My new syncing app synced all of my work into oblivion, including the first five chapters of Ice and Fyre. I am not ashamed to tell you I cried like a beauty queen only not so prettily. 

So, instead of spending the day busily writing as originally planned, I spent the next eight hours trying to recover my work. After googling thousands of 'solutions' to my problem, trawling through hundreds of backup files and performing various geeky technological gymnastics, I got most of it back. Though it appears that the first Chapter of Ice and Fyre sadly, is lost forever. 

Trying to remember a couple of thousand words that you wrote a few weeks ago seems an impossible task especially when those words were painstakingly crafted to resolved the cliffhanger left at the end of Ryte of Passage, So now I have to rewrite it....

Looks like this week is going to be another busy week - doubly so because I'm going to backup the hell out of everything!

Karen




19 July 2016

Fantastic Weekend at Latitude Music and Arts Festival!

Last weekend I attended Latitude Festival with my youngest daughter Anna. It is the eighth Latitude Festival that I have attended and in terms of weather, it was certainly one of the best. Though I attend mainly for the music, the Literary and Arts components are second only perhaps to Glastonbury. This year's literary offer included Author Naomi Alderman, comedian, and writer Sara Pascoe, award-winning campaigner Leyla Hussein and  Amy Annette (editor of I call myself a Feminist) discussing the new feminism and issues around women and power.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner was attending the festival for the first time. She presented three exciting events hosted by novelist and BWPFF co-founder Kate Mosse. Now in its twenty-first year, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman. 
Set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote international fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible, the Prize is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman. I can only dream of honors such of these, but who knows one day...






9 July 2016

Best of Indie #1 - Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

I am beginning my new Best of Indie Series with an Amazon Top Ten eBook  - Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. 

As you know, if you read my last post,  the series is to investigate whether independently published books can be as professionally written, successful and enjoyable as traditionally published fiction.

I chose Jodi Taylor's first novel  for my first piece because I when I first read the ebook - and thoroughly enjoyed it - I was unaware that it was a self-published piece and so judged it against every other traditionally published work I had ever written without prejudice.  I am happy to report that it faired very well indeed.  Well written, well edited and enjoyable enough for me to go straight to Amazon and download the second book in the series.  I have now read three of them!

So what do you get for your money?  Here is my review:

 “History is just one damned thing after another” 

History, time travel, and tea - a collection of my favourite things, it's hardly surprising that I loved this book.

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. 

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document - to try and find the answers to many of History's unanswered questions...and not to die in the process. 

But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting. 

Follow the catastrophe curve from eleventh-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake...

A story of history, time travel, love, friendship, and tea. Meet the disaster-magnets at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around history, observing, documenting, drinking tea and, if possible, not dying. Follow the catastrophe-curve from eleventh-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. Discover History – The New Sex.


An addictive premise handled with skill and humour.  I gobbled it up in a couple of days. I was immediately charmed by the foul-mouthed redhead who it seemed had a love-hate relationship with authority - a woman after my own heart. The dark-haired brooding hero and the evil but elegant femme fatale, together with many other colourful characters added zing and humour to the story, as did the journey into the Cretaceous period and the introduction of the inevitable T-Rex.

Maxwell is a fun character with a contagious humor and enthusiasm. “Surveying myself in a mirror, I looked like a small, excited, ginger sack.” Her winning combination of spunk, personality and sass won me over and I chuckled all the way through. An action focussed plot and dynamic story line only added to my enjoyment. Though there was little science, and as a science nut, I would have liked a bit more of an explanation as to how the time machine worked.  It is a sort of  science fiction 'lite' book that devotees of the genre may find a little frustrating and of course, there are the inevitable and practically unavoidable disparities with the timeline. However, I am not one of those sci-fi geeks that will look into those with any seriousness - there lies madness!

Overall, in my opinion, this amazing first novel - self-published or not, it more than holds its own with similar, more traditionally published books.







2 July 2016

Indie Publishing Sweeps The Top Ten Board!





They said it could never happen. They said that if you wanted to make it big as a writer then you would have to be published by one of the big five traditional publishing houses.


They were wrong.

Today, some of the highest earning authors are Indie (self-published) authors. Many of them have chosen this route, not simply because they could not interest a mainstream publisher in their work, but because Indie publishing pays.

A book published traditionally earns the writer something like 17% of the retail price of the book, whereas an Indie author earns, on average, around 70%

As a consequence, the Amazon.com Kindle top 10 on Friday this week is:

1: The Moonlit Garden by Cynthia Bomann (AmazonCrossing — Amazon Publishing imprint)

2: The Throwaway Children by Diney Costeloe (Head of Zeus — indie publisher)

3: Yours Completely by Krista Lakes (Zirconia Publishing — indie/self-published)

4: Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer (47North — Amazon imprint)

5: Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodie Taylor (Accent Press — indie publisher)

6: A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest (Self-published)

7: January: Calendar Girl Book by Audrey Carlan (Accent Press — indie publisher)

8: Fields of Wrath by Mark Wheaton (Thomas & Mercer — Amazon imprint)

9: The Good Neighbor by A J Banner (Lake Union — Amazon imprint)

10: The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons (Thomas & Mercer — Amazon imprint)

So, how do these books compare for quality with their more traditionally published counterparts?

I intend to find out.

Each week, beginning next week I shall review a top rated indie book in a new series of posts - The 'Best of Indie' series.

If you have any suggestions, or you would like to put a book forward for review, feel free to contact me.  Remember, though, I intend to be scrupulously honest.

My first review will be of Jodie Taylor's time travel adventure, 'Just One Damned Thing After Another' (Published by Accent Press - Indie Publisher)

Time travel meets history in this explosive, bestselling adventure series. 

At St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, the historians don’t just study the past, they revisit it. 

Behind the strait-laced façade of a conventional academic institution, the secret of time travel is being used for ground-breaking and daring historical research taking the historians on a rollercoaster ride through history: from the destruction of Pompeii to the Normandy trenches; from the Great Fire of London to Bronze Age Troy and even to the time of the dinosaurs… 

Meanwhile, within at St Mary’s itself, there are power struggles and intrigues worthy of a book in themselves. 

In Book One, we follow new recruit Max as she rides the catastrophe curve from eleventh-century London to the First World War, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake ... 
Check back here next week to find out what I think...

26 June 2016

Ascension of the Whyte - Now Available Free!

I am pleased to offer Ascension of the Whyte as a Free E-Book.

Simply click the Smashwords image below to download your copy.

Don't miss your chance to read the first book in this exciting fantasy series - for free!

Happy reading...


21 June 2016

Competition Winner Announced!

And the winner is..... Olivia Kennedy - well done Olivia, as soon as I receive your details a signed copy of Ascension of the Whyte will be winging its way to you!

Not you? 

Don't despair - Ascension of the Whyte is available as a free ebook. Just click on the Smashwords link below to download your very own copy.

 Get Ascension of the Whyte Free!



Happy reading,

Karen

11 June 2016

COMPETITION - Win a signed copy of ASCENSION OF THE WHYTE

If you still have not read book 1 of the Afterland Chronicles - Ascension of the Whyte or would love to add a signed copy to your bookshelves now is your chance:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2 June 2016

World Building For The Afterland Chronicles Fantasy Series

What you see before you in the Eye of the Sooth is a map of the Afterlands. This is the world that you now inhabit. You can see here the four Afterlands; Ferrum in the west, Aurum in the east, Hydrargyrum to the south and Rhodium in the north.”  Lord Dux



My story takes place in a make-believe world that brings together legends and lore from multiple mythologies, featuring characters such as Rougarou, Witches, Dragons, Knuckers, Wizards, and even something called a Pukis.  I, like every other fantasy author had to decide when, and how, to build my world.  Should I construct a whole complex world complete in every tiny detail before I even started to write a single word of prose, or should I just let the world evolve around my characters as the story unfolded?  Both of these options seemed to be unworkable to me. 

Being rather impatient by nature I knew that detailed planning if it did not cause me to lose the will to live, would certainly deter me from ever writing the book. Hours of meticulous world building would have turned the whole process into a chore, and writing should never feel like a chore. On the other hand, I knew that ploughing ahead with the story without thinking through the major concepts of my world would undoubtedly be a risky thing to do. A world built up randomly, like a patchwork quilt without a pattern, could more than likely result in the pieces not quite meeting up at the centre.

Eventually, I decided to take the middle path and to build my world around the characters, using a stable scaffold built on known scientific facts and mainly European mythology, to begin with and then adding more detail as the story unfolded. As a psychologist I am always studying people and how the world around us influences our behaviour, so it seemed natural to me to just reverse the process and let the characters tell me what their world is all about.  After all, they had been rattling about in my head for weeks before I even started to think about their surroundings in any detail, and I was already intimately acquainted with the many ways in which each cast differed from the other. 

The Bloods, for example, were a seemingly emotionally cold race of people who made decisions using pure logic. Their eyes were slanted, their faces pale and grey, and their hair a fiery shade of red. It seemed obvious to me that their land just had to be inhospitable, fiery, and hostile, a land where life was always hard and emotions had to be kept in check.  An image swam into my mind whenever I thought of the Bloods. It was the image of a barren volcanic landscape, rich in heavy metals and ores, with craggy mountains breaking the skyline, their jagged, rocky slopes a honeycomb of tunnels, caves, and mine shafts. The Blood people and their land just seemed to fit together, like pigs and muck, and so the land Hydrargyrum was born. 

I knew that I wanted the theme of racism and racial inequality to feature in my book, so I decided that each cast would be named by their differences in hair colour. Just as in our world, we tend to categorise races by their skin colour (Black, White, Caucasian, etc.)  So the races of the Afterlands were labelled and judged by their hair colour, as Golds (blondes), Muds (chestnut haired), Bloods (red heads), and Whytes (silver haired).  

I found that quite unintentionally, these names seemed to suggest certain qualities for each race, for example, I quickly decided that the Golds would have to be beautiful, intelligent, wealthy, golden skinned, golden haired people if they were to live up to their ‘golden’ name.

Then very rapidly the whole world building bit seemed to take on a life of its own. In keeping with the ‘Gold’ theme, and knowing that it was common to name lands based on their geographical properties such as Argentina (Silvery Land), it felt logical to name lands after the metals and ores that were found most abundantly in each region.  So the land of the Golds became Aurum (the Latin word for gold). The bonus was that it underlined the qualities of its people, who were thought to be untarnished, valuable, wealthy and beautiful.  

Similarly the fauna and flora rich land of Ferrum (Latin for iron) naturally suggested people who were rough, robust and workmanlike, the farmers, hunters, and peasants of the Afterlands. 
Hydrargyrum being the Greek name for Mercury, which is a relatively stable, toxic metal that is liquid at low temperatures, fitted well as the land of the Bloods with their cold, un-reactive, and logical personalities.

Once I had this scaffold to work on, then crafting the features of the final, and arguably most important northern land, became simply a matter researching the properties of metals to locate one that was silver white in colour, rare and valuable. Rhodium fitted the bill perfectly.  Once I discovered that Rhodium was a scarce and precious ‘noble metal’ named from a Greek word meaning ‘Rose,' then not only did I have the name of my final Afterland, but also I had the name of the heroine of my book.

The final important discovery I made about world building was that if you did not want your story to get lost in inconsistencies, then you needed a map. Drawing my map turned the descriptions of the journeys that the characters travelled into really accurate and plausible depictions of each expedition and gave my writing an element of confidence that added to this realism. It was as if I was describing a real journey to an actual place and it was real to me - because I had a map!

World building for me turned out to be around eighty percent inspiration and twenty percent perspiration. I think that you need a good measure of both of these for it to be successful. How wonderful is it, though, to be able to close your eyes and travel to a land where the only boundaries are those of your imagination?  My dreams are never dull!

Karen Wrighton

To find out more about The Afterland Chronicles Series visit Karen Wrighton's official website.






29 May 2016

The evolution of a book - or where do the ideas all come from?



 Special Limited Offer - Now 99p on Amazon


Writing this book came quite naturally to me, in fact, I would say that the book seemed to write itself, but it didn't so much write itself as evolved almost in a true Darwinian fashion. It all started with a car journey,  my daily commute, which is long a and tedious three-hour journey through Norfolk's slow tractor ridden country lanes. 

I had been thinking about writing a book for some time and my computer was filled with half-written manuscripts and plot ideas. On this day though I had just finished reading John Green's The Fault in out Stars the night before and I was thinking about the bravery and of the young people and how they were both so desperate to discover what happened to the character in the story they were reading, who they presumed had just died. I started to think, well yes but maybe death was jot the end, it was s story after all so anything could happen! Then the image of a young girl swam into my mind. Her first day of high school, excitedly planning to attend a party with her friend, full of life, hopes, dreams and expectations, when something catastrophic happens, she is hit by a lorry and killed. What if that was not the end of the book, I thought, what if it was he beginning of an adventure.

That was the genesis of the story and before I arrived at work that day I had the framework solidly in my head. I knew the beginning; I had a great idea for a plot, and I knew how I wanted it to end now all I had to do was write it. Phew, that sounds easy when you say it quickly, but in fact, I was just about to embark on the most difficult, though most enjoyable part of this journey into authorship - planning and writing the story. 

When I plan the ideas come first, sometimes from my imagination, sometimes from things I see, hear or read about and sometimes through trying to solve a problem that the plot has thrown up. The research comes next and usually the research gives me more ideas about how I can weave the information or characters into my story. For example, I needed a method of communication in the Afterlands; J K Rowling had her owls, but I was loath to use birds so I looked into communication in animals and came across the bee and how bees communicated with each other through dance. 



I had already decided that some of my characters would be able to communicate with animals as well as to transform into them, so the bee made a brilliant messenger. I later discovered that in the past bees had been associated with magic, which I took as a sign that I had made the right choice.

Almost all of my planning and writing evolves in this fluid manner, my characters take me places that I hadn't intended to go. Originally I had two villains, Ka and Phlegon, but I soon realised that they were both such strong characters that the book wouldn't work with both of them in it. This gave me one big headache for a week or so until, again on my commute to work I thought that instead of killing one of them off and losing a great character what if somehow I was able to combine the two together. Phlegon was made from Fyre, so I was thinking of some melding, forging together and so I did some research and discovered how a crucible works and then the process of assimilation was born. 




I don't think I could ever be that organised to sit down and plan every detail of the story before I put pen to paper,  I would soon get bored. I like to build interesting characters that take me unexpected places and do unexpected things. It is what keeps me engaged with the story and hopefully keeps my readers engrossed too. 

If it were to tell you how I plot in a nutshell, I would say it was seventy percent character driven, twenty percent research driven, ten percent plot driven and mostly in my head while driving through the Norfolk countryside behind a tractor travelling at 20 miles per hour.

Karen






17 May 2016

Ryte of Passage - Paperback Edition

For those traditionalists amongst you, the paperback edition of Ryte of Passage is now available on Amazon.
 Buy on Amazon


Happy reading!

Karen

14 May 2016

Now Available on Amazon!

I'm taking a bit of a break from writing and editing for a while to do some publicity work because Ryte of Passage eBook is now available to buy on Amazon. 

The Paperback edition will follow shortly, so watch this space!

Karen


 Buy on Amazon

9 May 2016

Proof Copies Arrive!



Today I received the first paperback proofs for Ryte of Passage. I was very pleased with them, though there are as usual a few small tweaks to make before they go on sale at the weekend. 

I'm really happy with the cover design, especially the dragons! Let me know what you think.

Looking forward to getting lots of positive feedback. So far beta readers are loving it. 👍😜👌

To pre order see the link on the sidebar.

Karen. 


5 May 2016

Ryte of Passage Available to Pre-Order NOW!

           
              Buy on Amazon.co.uk            
            
                                       

4 May 2016

NEWS: Release Date for Ryte of Passage


The news is that we have now got a publication date for Ryte of Passage, which will be available for pre-order shortly and is due for release on:
Saturday 14th May
As soon as we have it we will post a link to the Amazon pre-order page so that any of you who would like to pre-order a copy will be able to do so.
This date is for the ebook version. The publication of the print edition should hopefully coincide provided final proofs, which are out for approval now, are free from any major issues.
It's been a long time coming, but I hope that you will all find this second book in the Afterland Chronicle Series well worth the wait.
Check back here for more news and to get the pre-order link as soon as we have it.

Ryte of Passage Publication Date Announced!


The news is that I have now got a publication date for Ryte of Passage, which will be available for pre-order shortly and is due for release on:

Saturday 14th May

As soon as I have it I will post a link to the Amazon pre-order page so that any of you who would like to pre-order a copy will be able to do so.

This date is for the ebook version. The publication of the print edition should hopefully coincide provided final proofs, which are out for approval now, are free from any major issues.

It's been a long time coming, but I hope that you will all find this second book in the Afterland Chronicle Series well worth the wait.

Check back here for more news and to get the pre-order link as soon as I have it.

Best wishes to you all,

Karen

29 April 2016

Ryte of Passage is Complete!

It's finished! Ryte of Passage, book 2 of The Afterland Chronicles is ready for publishing. So why not read the first book Ascension of the Whyte for free? It's available as a free ebook from Amazon for a limited time only. Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ascension-Whyte-Afterland-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00KVEXYPS

Check back here for firm publication date of Ryte of Passage within the week.

Karen



OUT SOON!

15 April 2016

Busy few weeks ahead....

It's full steam ahead now tweaking my final draft of Ryte of Passage, the second in the Afterland Chronicles series. Still on track for release this spring, though slightly delayed as I've been ill yet again. 

On a more positive and interesting note, I have just started the first draft of a new book. It's a dystopian young adult novel with the working title 'The Last Girl Guide'. I am quite excited about it and hope to complete this book in between publishing Ryte of Passage and the final book in the Afterland Chronicles, 'Fyre and Ice', due for release in 2017.  

As you can see I've a busy time ahead, and I've a children's picture book to complete this year also.  

Day off tomorrow though, I'm having a spa day with my daughter Faye for her birthday. Hopefully it will knock my cold into touch too! 

Keep checking back for updates.

Karen

4 March 2016

Latest News

Hi everyone,

Sorry for not posting for a while, but I've been busy finishing my second book Ryte of Passage. As of two days ago it was with my editor. So those of you who are waiting for a review copy, it won't be long now. Watch this space!


9 January 2016

Latest News!

Editing a chapter a day at the moment. If I keep this up I'll have the final draft finished in a fortnight!

Rate of Passage is well on its way!