Category Archives: Progress Updates

Sophie’s Run is In The Building!

It only seems like yesterday that I posted right here when Sophie’s Turn turned up in paperback format in my house. It is, in fact, only barely five months. Five months! And I am the proud author-owner of my very own second book.

Sophie’s Run. It’s here!

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This one wasn’t eight years in the making. I wrote it from October 2011 until February 2012, taking about fourteen weeks to complete it.

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I was going to publish in the summer of 2012. That was before I signed with my fabulous publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, of course.
So Sophie’s Run got a little waiting period but here it is…

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Oh my God.

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Of course, this time, I knew what was coming. I knew I would be overwhelmed with joy and… glee. Yes, pure and unadultered joy at holding another book of mine in my very hands. I’m telling you, the feeling is just as great as first time round! And it’s not just me who’s insanely proud, it turns out…

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Oh, this gives me an idea. Don’t the two books look good together?

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Oh, let’s try another shot….

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Oooh yeah, baby!
I’m sorry. I’m sorry! I couldn’t help playing at happy bookshelves with them. Just wait until book 3 joins them. (And book 4… and book 5…)

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Work it, baby, work it…

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Awesome. Not long to go now!
Launch day is 7 February, and I’ll be having the most rocking launch yet. Literally, really rocking!
Watch this space for more news and thank you for joining me.

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Rock on!

Pssst! *whispers* In case you haven’t seen them: the advance reviews for Sophie’s Run are rolling in on Goodreads. Go take a look! :-)

The Run-Up to Sophie’s Run

I declare the manic season open!

Oh yes, this is going to be my four weeks of madness ahead of the launch of Sophie’s Run, and I am very excited about it all. Here’s a little sneak peek at what will be happening, and I’ll bring you posts with updates as I go along, of course.

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First of all, let me remind you what Book 2 is all about; here’s the blurb:

Sophie’s Run

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even?  Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams!  Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet.  But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy.  Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful.  A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life.  Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough.  Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change.  Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey eventually gets her life back on track.

Where is Sophie’s Run now?

Right at this very moment, Sophie’s Run is at the printer. Squeee! I’m hoping to get my trembling fingers on paper back copies of my second book in the next two to three weeks, and you’ll be the first to know when they get here!

In addition, the book is also being formatted for e-publishing in all the various formats so we will be all singing-and-dancing on pub day. (Pub day being 7 February 2013, in case I hadn’t mentioned the date lately).

What kind of launch party will there be for Sophie’s Run?

A fabulous one, to put it simply! Plans are afoot to launch this baby live on air over at Siren 107.3 FM with Alex Lewczuk and various Special Guests on the eve of publication, 6 February, from 5pm to 7pm. Let me hear you say, Hell Yeah! More details to follow when I have the line-up complete.

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In addition, I’ll also be hosting a lightning-signing event at Welton library at 10 a.m. on 7 February, so if you’re in the area, drop by! You can visit my blog all through the day of 7 February to take part in the party. And if that’s not enough, I’ll also be hosting a Facebook party so that absolutely everybody can take part!

Will you be taking Sophie’s Run on tour?

Why, of course! And, more importantly, I’ll be taking YOU with me ~ on a tour of geographic and culinary discovery, just like a rock star. The schedule is nearly finalized, 90 per cent of the blog posts have been written, and I will post more details right here on this blog very soon, watch this space.

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And of course, while I’m getting this all organized, I also have a duty to Sophie and Dan to finish their story, so I’m typing away at Book 3, Sophie’s Encore. #norestforthewicked, right? It’s gonna be awesome!

Will you join me on tour? Are you ready to party?

On-The-Road Editing

I know. It’s the festive season and everybody’s posting festive stuff. And so will I, very soon. In the meantime, however, life goes on and work needs to be done.

I recently finished editing my second book, Sophie’s Run, using fabulous input from my editor over at Sapphire Star Publishing. This was a fast-track, polish-it-up edit such as I haven’t done in a long time. And do you know what? It was totally exhilarating. I am so happy with the result, I haven’t stopped smiling since. (Better still, Katie and Amy at Sapphire approve too ~ happy dance).

But here’s the really juicy bit. The edits landed in my inbox just before I was due to leave for the RNA Winter Party. Well, what’s an author to do when she’s got a long train ride ahead of her, all the way to London and then back again? Plus some unexpected ‘downtime’ in a quiet hotel room with no distractions? You got it. A spot of on-the-road editing. In fact, I marked up seventy percent of the manuscript during the two-day trip.

And the moral?

Actually, there are two. One, there’s no such thing as a wasted train journey. And two, my brain definitely kicks into high gear on the road.

When the hotel grows quiet, the author gets editing!

When the hotel grows quiet, the author gets editing!

Scratch, scratch, replace, alter... in several colours for several rounds of thoughts. And the whole thing looked amazing once it was 'clean' back in Word.

Scratch, scratch, replace, alter… in several colours for several rounds of thoughts. And the whole thing looked amazing once it was ‘clean’ back in Word.

Have manuscript, will edit... even on trains, in planes and automobiles!

Have manuscript, will edit… even on trains, in planes and automobiles!

Do you enjoy editing (or writing) in unusual environments?

Oh. And here’s the thing. Sophie’s Run is currently undergoing proofing and I’m awaiting the fair copy for author approval. Because yes, this baby is coming your way on 7 February 2013 ~ watch this space!

This is NOT it.

No. Definitely NOT.

But if you come back this coming Friday, I can reveal to you the absolutely stunning cover for Sophie’s Run!

See you then? :-)

Me, and the Queen of Hearts: Split Author-Personality Syndrome

Editing.

This little word puts the fear of God in a lot of writers. #amediting is an oft-seen hashtag frequently accompanied by wailing and proverbial gnashing of teeth. Many authors, me included, confess to a certain amount of dread when it comes to editing.

I wonder why. Because when it comes to it, I perversely enjoy it. Ignore the initial pain and frustration; once I knuckle down, I find the process quite exhilarating and ultimately rewarding.

My work process involves two broad types of editing. ‘Me’ editing, aka the author edit. And publisher editing, aka… well, publisher editing. Right now, for my second novel, I am working through stage one, ‘me’ editing.

Having let the manuscript rest for a good few months, I have taken another good, fresh look at it and got the red pen out. Why? Well, for one, I had to. I know Sophie’s Run is at least twenty-five thousand words too wordy for commercial publication, so they had to go. And second, because I wanted to. I felt the need. With a bit of distance, I wanted to go through my work and make sure that it still zings for me. There are certain things I learned from the publisher edits of Sophie’s Turn that I wanted to apply rightaway. I’ll talk about that some other time.

Me. Myself. And HER.

Today, I want to talk about this weird split personality that I have discovered. There’s me, and there’s The Other. My Inner Editor. She of the Ruthless Cutting Mindset. The Queen of Hearts.

So, the cutting. The bloodlet. That’s the part I dread and fear most. And yet surprisingly, it’s turning out to be quite easy. I appear to have grown a second head, one that is dispassionate and detached and ruthless. An Inner Editor has quite unexpectedly and without invitation taken residence in this new, second head of mine that isn’t even attached to my normal pair of shoulders. I kid you not—that’s exactly what it feels like!

I might be reading along merrily, quite enjoying myself, when my Inner Editor pipes up, quite brusquely—not to say, rudely—and instructs me to cut, cut, cut. “Can’t you see,” she’ll tell me in no uncertain terms, “that while this scene is fun, it’s also just excess fat? It doesn’t advance the plot, it’s not necessary. Take it out. Use it some other time.” Honestly, she really is like the Queen of Hearts, all Off With His Head (or rather, Out With The Scene!). Thus out come the scissors, and my office floor swiftly resembles a cutting room floor.

Me… and HER. Isn’t she scary?
Would *you* argue with her?

She’s usually right. It’s not that what I was written was bad, or wrong. On the contrary, I am quite often deeply attached to the scene in question. But if it’s not essential, then it has to go. If I can transplant the joke somewhere else, I will. If I can tell it in fewer words, I shall. And the end result: a pacy, fast, page-turning read (if I say so myself) that is better than it was before.

How much has she made me cut? I don’t know yet. I was going to start putting these edits into my manuscript in Word but owing to a small computer crisis, I’ve had a small delay. I can tell you, though, that I have cut at least four chapters; that there isn’t a page without at least five lines crossed out; and that a lot of excess verbiage has been clipped. I’m not entirely sure whether I’ve culled the required 25K but I don’t think I’m far off. And there are a few scenes that I have point-blank refused to take out (yet) even though Inner Editor was spitting with fury at my ignoring of her very relevant suggestions. These are my back up, my cushion, my fall back. With those, I will scrape over the all important finish.

I’m zinging with zest. I have this tingling in my toes that tells me I’m on to a good thing. The book feels sumptuous yet lean, luxurious and fast. Thank you, Inner Editor, and please forgive all the abuse I hurled at you. I love you, really.

Of course, this isn’t it. When I’m done, Sophie’s Run goes back to Sapphire Star again; my lovely publisher, has, of course, already read my second masterpiece, but now it’s time for the full-on, no holds-barred, all-out publisher edits.

Bring it on!

How do you approach editing? Do you have your very own Queen of Hearts sitting on your shoulder?

The Serial Juggler: One’s Out, Two’s Done, Three’s WIP as the Rock Star Romance Trilogy takes shape

Did you know I can’t juggle? Not at all. I’m hopeless with balls in the air. I have no spacial vision whatsoever and any kind of ball games involve me scrabbling around ungracefully, feeling foolish.

But write and promote a Trilogy within a contracted timeframe with a publisher while also performing my day job as a mum? Yeah, bring it on! Right at this moment, I am juggling. I’m juggling promotion, editing, planning and writing, and I’m having a ball.

The Trilogy in Process. On the far right is Sophie’s Turn, all done and dusted. The cardboard boxes contain promotional postcards and bookmarks. In the middle is the first draft for Sophie’s Run. And the small pile of paper on the left contains the initial outline, all plans and some of the research for book 3! (Read on to find out more about that…)

Promoting, promoting, promoting

You all know my first book, Sophie’s Turn, is now out and available to buy. It’s been getting fabulous reviews in my 67-strong blog tour, and I’m doing interviews, guest posts, give-aways by the dozens. I’ve also had the local paper round to do a lovely little feature, and I’m hosting a ‘meet the author’ event at my local library in October. In addition, I’m planning to contact local book clubs, independent book stores, the WI, radio stations… you name it, I’m on a roll. I live on Twitter and Facebook as the great promotional rollercoaster goes through loop after looop. Rock on!

Editing, editing, editing

My second focus at this time is Sophie’s Run. It is completely written but at just over 149,ooo words for the first draft (yes, you read that right) it is slightly too long. I am going through page by page, scene by scene, chapter by chapter, looking for excess fat, unnecessary detours and undue verbiage in my quest to eliminate around 30,000 words from the first draft. God, that sounds a lot, right? But it will be done. I have about four weeks to get the slimline version to my lovely publishers over at Sapphire Star.

Moreover, the cover is being designed right at this time and it is going to be absolutely stunning. I don’t know when the cover reveal will take place, but rest assured, I will shout about it!

What happens in Sophie’s Run? Here’s a little taster…

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road toward true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams. Well…she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. When she misses her opportunity, her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal. And to top it all, her new boyfriend leaves her lying in the mud.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret that eventually gets her life back on track.

If you’ve enjoyed Sophie’s Turn, you’ll be in for a real treat, if I say so myself with all due humility. Sophie’s Run is due for release by Sapphire Star Publishing on 7 February 2013.

And planning, and writing, and planning, and writing

So then… what about the last part in the Trilogy? Well, my friends, this is all planned out and I will be writing it just as soon as I’ve sent Sophie’s Run back to Sapphire Star for proper publisher editing.

The working title is Sophie’s Encore and this book is due for release by Sapphire Star Publishing on 7 September 2013!! It’s too early to give you a teaser for this last part, but it will end the story with due style and panache. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!

The workplan for Sophie’s Encore. Yes, I know it’s blurred! I wouldn’t want you to read it right now… that’d spoil all the fun! xx

See, so I can juggle. I can have three balls in the air, figuratively speaking. One book out, one book editing, one book writing. And so it goes… How do you cope with multiple projects (books or other) on the go?

Sophie has an exciting confession for Dan…

Indeed, it’s party time again!  Did you guess right yesterday?

I feel like a regular party girl these days. Break out the bubbly, have a little treat and join the party!  Oh, and know that while the celebrations continue, I’ll be planning the third part of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy… just how will the story end??XX

~Nicky :-)