My Mini Midwife – D J Kirkby

I’m delighted to welcome Denyse Kirkby, author of ‘My Mini Midwife’, to Romaniac HQ today; I have tweeted with Denyse, usually early in the mornings before work beckons, and as a  local to West Sussex, like myself,  it makes it even nicer to pass the blog over to her.  Sue x

Denyse_Kirkby_author_photo,_credit_T-J_King

Dear Romaniacs,

I have been a lurker on your blog for a long time now, and I feel honoured that you invited me to join you here for a chat about my latest book.

My Mini Midwife came about as a result of my years working as a community midwife. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a community midwife because that kind of midwifery allows you to get to know the people you are caring for to a deeper level than those you meet when you are hospital based. Over time I began to develop a standard set of answers to questions expectant parents, and their families, asked of me about early pregnancy, what kind of care they will be given, what labour is like and so on.

My Mini Midwife_COVER.inddThen one couple said they wished they could carry me around in their handbag so they could ask me questions whenever they needed to, and that was when I had a My Mini Midwife light-bulb moment.  I decided to write out answers to all the most frequently asked questions I could remember people asking me. When I had finished this the writer in me couldn’t leave it alone – it wasn’t pretty, there was no flow to the words, it needed chapters and so on. So I grouped the questions together and wrote chapters around them. I didn’t want my book to feel like a textbook or a self-help book so I kept the tone of my writing the same as I would use when chatting with people while caring for them in pregnancy, labour and in the first few weeks after birth. The result was a pocket-sized midwife that readers could carry around with them everywhere.

With this in mind I paid for a nice cover and a professional edit and self-published My Mini Midwife as an ebook. What happened next is the things my dreams are made of – a publisher bought it, read it and offered me a contract for it!  Summersdale put My Mini Midwife through several edits, including changes to the layout of the text and cover, which enhanced the content without changing what I had originally set out to do with it. On the 3rd of February it will be available in all bookstores in paperback and an ebook version is available too.

There will be a My Mini Midwife-themed forum on my website (http://www.djkirkby.co.uk) from the end of February where you can ask questions anytime, as well as a postnatal support group and much more. Last, but not least, to celebrate the re-birth of My Mini Midwife Summersdale helped me make a video of my top ten tips from the book which you can watch here: http://youtu.be/pvSjI7Hj6Ys and if you have any other questions you would like to ask me then I would be very happy to answer them here.

 

My Mini Midwife_COVER.indd

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Struggling to get published? Great advice from Kerry Fisher.

I’m delighted that Kerry Fisher has joined us at Romaniac HQ today and she’s brought along her dog too! Kerry has recently signed a fantastic book deal and she’s chatting about her road to publication.

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The Power of Persistence

When I was struggling to get published, I used to dread reading blogs like this in case other authors were saying ‘Three weeks after I wrote the first draft, an agent snapped me up on account of my witty interactions on Twitter and two weeks later, I had a book and film deal.’

I am not that person. My story should give hope to any writers who need a Lever Arch file for their rejections. I’ve written three novels. The first was rubbish, but the other two were a series of ‘hopes raised, hopes dashed, nearly but not quite’ from agents. I simply didn’t have the appetite to write a fourth without finding a home for them. Plus I’d made the classic mistake of telling everyone I was writing a novel and was having to jump into the coat cupboard at parties when I saw the words, ‘Have you been published yet?’ forming on people’s lips. My husband has been hugely supportive of my writing but although he never actually articulated ‘When is all this writing nonsense going to stop?’, he did encourage me to apply for a job as a shepherd with the National Trust. Time for a different approach.

So I self-published in December 2012. I did two things right: I paid to have a cover professionally designed. I printed business cards and leaflets.

I did hundreds of things wrong. Instead of paying for a professional proofread, I revised the novel myself until my eyeballs bled, but still managed to miss loads of typos. Gravest mistake of all: I stuck my novel out there with nary a thought for how I was going to make it stand out from the 400,000 already jostling for space on Amazon.

My learning wasn’t a curve. More of a climbing wall without footholds. In a nutshell:

  • Two hundred Facebook friends do not equal two hundred sales.
  • Some of the people closest to you will be utterly disinterested – don’t take it personally.
  • Some acquaintances will champion you until you love them more than your dog.
  • Whatever you think of Twitter, it’s vital for networking and connecting with readers.
  • Learn as much as you can from other authors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – most are very generous-spirited.
  • Old-fashioned, face-to-face networking has its place. I joined local business associations, approached writing and reading clubs, social groups (see http://www.meetup.com) and spoke at school coffee mornings.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a thank you and help people you meet along the way to make mutually beneficial connections.

The biggest tip of all: join the Romantic Novelists’ Association!

I went to the summer party in May, where I met Helen Bolton, commissioning editor for the Avon imprint of HarperCollins. We chatted briefly about one of her authors, Mhairi McFarlane, who writes funny women’s commercial fiction. I knew Helen was unlikely to read an unagented submission but it’s not every day you speak directly to an editor who works in the market you’re targeting. I sent off a long shot submission of the first five chapters. Within a week she came back to me and told me to send the rest, plus my next book.

I had an informal meeting with her at HarperCollins HQ. I allowed myself a small skip on the steps but still didn’t think anything would come of it. However, I was determined not to squander the opportunity completely. If I didn’t get a publisher, then maybe I could still find an agent before I got rejected. On the back of ‘Avon are currently considering the manuscript’, several agents asked for the full. Clare Wallace from Darley Anderson – whom I had also met at the RNA party – came back to me very promptly and asked to see me.

The meeting felt ‘right’ – professional, detailed, honest, warm, with a clear plan of next steps if Avon didn’t buy The Class Ceiling.

I left with an offer of representation. My immediate reaction was to accept straightaway because she was smart, switched on and I knew I could work with her. There hadn’t been any point in our meeting when I’d thought, ‘Hmm. Not sure about that,’ or worse, ‘You’re scary’. But I also knew that it was crucial to make the right decision, so I asked for some time to consider her offer without cartwheeling clouding my judgment.

Events overtook me. That evening, a two-book deal from Avon pinged into my inbox. I phoned Clare the next morning. Thankfully, my first instincts were right – she did a great job negotiating my contract and then sold the books for me at auction in Germany.

Five years of writing into a black hole, then an agent and a book deal on the same day. The ultimate proof that the whole mad writing business can turn on a sixpence.

The Class Ceiling is currently available on Amazon Kindle. It will be published as The School Gate Survival Guide by Avon in August 2014.

CLASS_CEILING_FINAL

www.kerryfisherauthor.com

https://twitter.com/KerryFSwayne

https://www.facebook.com/kerryfisherauthor

Teri Riggs and her Resolutions

Teri Riggs

Today, we are delighted to welcome to Romaniac HQ, Romantic Suspense writer, Teri Riggs.

Please come in and put your feet up. It’s very informal here. Earl Grey? Breakfast tea?

Breakfast tea, please with a pinch of sweetener.

As we settle into our chocolate cake, tell us about Teri Riggs.

I live in Marietta, Georgia, with my husband and have one daughter still living at home. My other two daughters live within five minutes of my home. Life is good. I have been writing for almost 15 years. Writing is my third career. First, I was a NICU nurse, and then a stay at home mom.

Please introduce the Romaniac readers to Resolutions, and fill us in on the hero, ‘Mac’.

Resolutions is about a strong-willed female DEA agent, Eve, who joins forces with her alpha male ex-lover, Mac, to stop a drug lord who has teamed up with a group of terrorists. Old feelings of love, and hate, resurface. They must learn to trust each other again in order to stay alive.

Mac is an alpha male driven to protect the woman he loves. His mother died while doing dangerous UN work and he tries to shelter Eve from harm until she finally reaches her breaking point and leaves him. Two years later, Mac has a chance to show Eve he’s changed—or has he?

Do you have a clear idea of your heroes before you write?

With Mac, I did. I wanted a strong, alpha male type. I had to have a hero Eve could butt heads with.

How do you then go about developing their characters?

I write a pretty detailed character description, both physical and emotional, and start there. I always end up adding to the list as I get deeper into the manuscript and the character leads me in a few more directions.

In terms of traits, what are your must-haves for your heroines, and why? 

I like my heroines to be strong and independent enough to play off the hero. But at the same time, I think they have to have some vulnerability. Without it, how would the hero ever get under their skin?

What draws you to the romantic suspense genre?

There’s nothing like a little suspense mixed with a good dose of romance to keep me on the edge of my seat.

Do you find writing a book is as exciting as reading one?

Yes. Writing is a lot more work than reading, but every bit as fun. Plus, I get to have the ending I want!

Quick Fire Round:

Opera or Rock?

Opera.

Ocean or lake?

Ocean.

New Year resolutions or anytime resolutions?

To keep perfecting my writing. I’d love to push myself to write a little faster and put out 2-3 books a year.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Teri, and congratulations on Resolutions. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Thanks for having me.

Teri Riggs Resolutions cover

Honor Guard Series

Resolutions

by Teri Riggs

DEA agent Eve Taylor has had her fill of alpha males. When Resolutions’ operative and former lover, Dillon “Mac” McKenna, threatened her hard-earned independence, she ran. On a mission to gather evidence against a Colombian drug-lord, Eve discovers the drug-lord is helping terrorists plan an attack on American soil. Before she can escape with the vital information, she’s captured and comes face to face with her mortality…

As a teen, Mac watched his family fall apart after his mother died doing dangerous U.N. work. The possibility of losing Eve to a mission ignited an overwhelming need to protect her. When he forced her to choose him or her job, she walked away. Two years later, it seems all his nightmares have come true and he’s tasked with rescuing her from a Colombian prison. Mac has never stopped loving Eve, but does he dare risk his heart when he’s so terrified of losing…

On the run, Mac and Eve must learn to trust each other again in order to stay alive.

Note: Resolutions is a private black ops agency specializing in the near-impossible extractions of kidnap victims, hostages, and all forms of intelligence other agencies have failed to retrieve.

Resolutions

Romantic Suspense

Honor Guard Series

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | Decadent

What Readers are saying:

“I love the sexual tension between Eve and Mac. The hot, steamy Colombian jungle makes a great backdrop for a love story that begins with two ex-lovers on the run.”

-K. Kishpaugh, Amazon

“The action and suspense were nonstop. Eve was believable as a tough and persistent female protagonist. And I liked how she and Mac’s characters developed throughout the story.”

-Marie, Amazon

“Nonstop action and plenty of sexual tension between the lead characters. A quick, suspenseful read. I would recommend this to my friends.”

-Lady A, Amazon

“A good read with plenty of action. I liked the gun battle scenes. They were well paced and for fairly accurate. Mendoza was played well and I enjoyed Mac and Eve’s determination to stop him.”

-Cooper, Amazon

About the Author:

Teri Riggs was destined to be a writer. As a small girl she didn’t read bedtime stories, she made up her own. Who needed Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs when there were so many great tales bouncing around in her head? When she grew up and became a mother to three little girls, she continued the tradition of making up bedtime stories. On the occasions she chose to tell conventional fairytales, Teri usually gave them a bit of tweaking here and there or added a new ending. Her girls loved it.
After her daughters had the nerve to actually grow up and leave home, Teri discovered she had a passion for writing and jumped right in. It came as no surprise she chose to write mysteries and happily-ever-after’s since that’s the genres she loves to read.
Teri lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, one of her daughters and two dogs that seem to think they rule the world. And some days Teri thinks maybe they do.

Contact Details:

Website: http://teri-riggs.com/

Email: teririggs@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Teri-Riggs/329379907142621

Twitter: @TeriLRiggs

Blog: http://teririggs.blogspot.co.uk/

Enjoy the following excerpt for RESOLUTIONS:

Beefy hands wrenched Eve awake from a fevered sleep, pulled her from the cell, and shoved her into a musty-smelling hallway. I’m being moved? A guard pushed her with one hand, keeping a tight grip on an AK-47 rifle with his other.

Her shoulder throbbed in perfect cadence with the pains shooting through her broken wrist, and she had one badass headache from being punched in the face a few too many times. Using her good hand, she walked fingers across one cheek, then the other. The right side was totally numb. Her eye had swollen shut, and she couldn’t see a damn thing out of it. She ran her tongue across her teeth and tasted the tart, copper flavor of blood. Three teeth loose. Well, at least they’re still in place.

In spite of the relentless pain, she stayed determined to survive whatever Mendoza dished out. She wasn’t a quitter. No, sir. Duncan Falls, Iowa didn’t grow quitters. Eve ignored the constant ache in her ribs, courtesy of a guard’s overzealous kick, and took in a deep breath. She willed herself to stay alert, to keep pushing. Escape. Third times the charm.

Eve slapped the guard’s dirty hand. “Hey, Pedro, stop being so damned pushy. Where we going anyway? We got a hot date I’ve forgotten about?”

He looked puzzled then shoved her again.

“Don’t understand English, do you, Diego? Bet you understand this.” Eve drove her elbow into the guard’s face. Thick rubbery cartilage gave, and she whooped triumphantly.

Blood squirted from his nose and he screamed.

Eve stepped back. “Yep, I’m pretty sure you understand that.”

Unable to grab the guard’s assault rifle, she clutched her injured shoulder, and took off in a slow jog, no longer able to push any harder.

Her escape was short lived.

Price: 2.99

Resolutions was a finalist in the prestigious Daphne Du Maurier contest.

Tag! You’re It!

At Romaniac HQ, we’ve been discussing author tags.

Without turning into Violet Elizabeth, (Just William), I would really like one. The problem is, I’m yet to come up with something that captures the overriding sense of what, or how I write. It needs to be catchy, relatable and relevant.IMG_6365

Truth or Dare? has been cited as ‘Romance with bite’, ‘A love story with oomph’, and ‘A love story without the soft edges’. In one review, the style is likened to one of my all-time favourite authors, Jodi Picoult. I do enjoy a gritty, thought-provoking read. I love stories that challenge perception. Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You is a fine example.

First and foremost, I write romance, mainly coastal, but having completed two novels, and planned my third, I can see trends appearing. Family relationships are extremely important to the story, I enjoy strong female leads, and at the book’s heart, there is always an issue. It’s dark in Truth or Dare?, a shade lighter in Follow Me, and pitch black in What Doesn’t Kill TOD_FRONT largeYou (book 3). But … I love a happy ending. I like all the loose ends tied neatly and tucked away, and I believe good must ultimately defeat evil. What I hope to achieve is to guide the characters and the readers through the cold shadows, out into the brilliant sunshine.

Romance by torchlight? Hmm.

As I continue to ponder, I would love to see your author tags and learn how they came about. Or perhaps it’s not something you find necessary. Should the book do all the talking?

Tag! You’re it!

Laura x

Tagless.

Romancing The Soul – Sarah Tranter

Sarah Tranter

Today is publication day for Sarah Tranter’s second Choc Lit novel, Romancing The Soul. This is one of the books I am desperate to read, and listed it in our recent Romaniac Reading Resolution blog, No More Butterfly Reading.

I am a huge fan of Sarah’s, and her debut, No Such Thing As Immortality is up in my top ten favourite reads. It stayed with me long after I returned it to my bookcase. It has a gorgeous cover too.NSTAI Cover

We have a little longer to wait before finding out what the sexy, kind-hearted Nate has in store, as Romancing The Soul is not part of the No Such Thing trilogy.

RTS is a story of past-life regression, soul-mates, and love.

There are people with whom one instantly connects – have you ever wondered why? Perhaps you’ve met in a different life? I was told my daughter and I were together in a past life, as mother and daughter. Apparently, it is extremely rare for two people to reconnect as family. I’m open-minded, and if nothing else, it’s a lovely and pleasing idea. I feel no need to test the theory. I can tell you we have a fab relationship, and often communicate without words. We simply know. Kudos to Sarah, however, who underwent a past-life regression in the name of research for RTS. That’s dedication. And I know it will shine through her story.

Sarah Tranter Romancing

I do have a theory that we are meant to meet certain people in our lives. Gajitman and I met in the early nineties. We were in our twenties, living in Bedfordshire. Early in our blossoming romance, we discovered our grandparents used to live in London, in the same road as each other. Not only that, they were but a few doors apart. Gajitman and I were toddlers then and didn’t know of one another’s existence, but I’m pretty certain we’d have met, as we both knew and played with the children who lived in that road.

But that’s a whole different story.

Sarah – wishing you enormous success with Romancing The Soul. I cannot wait to get my hands on the paperback. In fact, it’s on pre-order …

Laura x

You can follow Sarah on twitter: @sarah_tranter

and on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.tranter.73?fref=ts

The Blurb

Sarah Tranter RomancingRomancing The Soul:

Your Soul Mate is out there! Let a past life lead the way
Rachael Jones hasn’t exactly chosen an average career path. She’s a ‘past-life regressionist’ and is now hoping to help her clients find their Soul Mates through reconnecting them with their past lives. But despite her best intentions, there are problems. Rachael made the mistake of regressing her best friend, Susie Morris, who has since been haunted by events that occurred in her past life.
When Susie meets Hollywood actor, George Silbury in unlikely circumstances, she is completely unprepared for her reactions. There’s an intense mutual attraction that neither can explain nor ignore.
Can George help Susie to overcome the sense of desolation she feels as the result of her past-life regression or will history’s habit of repeating itself ruin all chances of her finding happiness?