Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Guest Post: Sharon Booth - 'Resisting Mr Rochester'

Today I' m welcoming lovely fellow author Sharon Booth onto my blog to talk about her latest novel 'Resisting Mr Rochester', which is out now! Here's Sharon to tell you more about the book, and the inspiration behind it...


Thank you very much, Michelle, for inviting me onto your blog today, to talk about my sixth novel, Resisting Mr Rochester, which is now available to buy for Kindle—paperback edition coming soon!

As you've probably guessed, this book is loosely (very loosely) based on Charlotte Brontë's wonderful novel, Jane Eyre, and so it was the perfect excuse to drag my poor, gullible husband along on a research trip, to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth.


The Brontë Parsonage
DH is not one for trawling around museums, stately homes and the like, and over the last year or so he has been very obliging—chauffeuring me around, and nobly accompanying me as I wandered the halls of so many fascinating places.
He's not a great reader, either. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen him pick up a book in all the years I've lived with him - and that's a lot of years. So, I think it was pretty decent of him to drive me all the way from East Yorkshire to the unfamiliar territory of West Yorkshire—especially since it was pouring with rain and there was no possibility of taking a walk that day. (See what I did there? It's a Brontë thing!)

Anyway, we duly headed off to Haworth, and found the Parsonage, and paid our entrance fee. Then, we wandered round to the front door and I reached for the handle...
It's not an exaggeration to say my hand was shaking at that point. I have been to the Parsonage before, but it was many years ago, and it felt like the first time all over again. Jane Eyre has been my favourite novel for so long. Knowing I was walking into the actual house that Charlotte Brontë lived in was an awe-inspiring experience.


At the time we visited, back in March, there was an exhibition on to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Branwell Brontë's birth. Having watched To Walk Invisible at Christmas, it was very moving to see the replica of his bedroom, with all its mess and chaos representing the turmoils of Branwell's troubled mind. Costumes, props and plans from To Walk Invisible were also on display, and will be—I believe—until next year, so if you want to see them for yourself, why not pop along?

There are lots of Brontë possessions on display. I was particularly moved by Charlotte's little glasses, and the tiny shoes she wore. 



You can also see the extraordinary little books they produced as children. How they ever made and wrote in such tiny things baffles me. There are also some chilling and sad things on display, such as Anne's blood-stained handkerchief, and Charlotte's grief-filled letters after the death of Emily.


On the walls, there are quotations from various Brontë books. Reading them gave me goosebumps. I particularly loved the ones from Jane Eyre, of course, because I was still writing Resisting Mr Rochester at the time, and they resonated with me.  My favourite was the one in the picture. 




Yes, it made me cry! DH amazed me by taking the time to read the notices, and studying the exhibits. The magic of the Brontës lured even him.

If you would like to know more about the Brontë Parsonage, visit their website at www.bronte.org.uk. It's well worth a visit, as is the pretty town of Haworth, which looks far more pleasant these days than it did in the Brontës' time! If you still need convincing, I can tell you that, when we got home, I watched To Walk Invisible for the fourth time, and DH was interested enough to sit and watch it with me (he hadn't wanted to before). He remarked on the programme's excellent recreation of the house, commented on the sad decline of Branwell, and had a big smile on his face when Charlotte visited her publisher and was greeted with such excitement and delight. Very impressive!

I loved my excursion into the world of the Brontës, and I loved immersing myself in the creation of my very own Mr Rochester. While writing my own story and inventing my own characters, I did draw on my favourite work of literature in some ways, hopefully paying my own small tribute to Charlotte's masterpiece.




I hope you enjoy Resisting Mr Rochester. I know I enjoyed writing it, and I'm missing my hero already. I'm in the process of creating another lovely hero, but Mr Rochester is a hard act to follow!



You can buy Resisting Mr Rochester at hyperurl.co/resistingmrrochester

Find out more about me and my books by visiting my website:  www.sharonboothwriter.com


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Why 'Protection' has already had a cover change, and why this first book in a new series may be the last...

The book's been out less than a week, but I've already given it a cover change. So, why is that? Well, to be honest, although I really liked the original cover for 'Protection', my latest foray into the world of MC romance, I was never 100% sure it was going to work. For me. I'd thought I'd wanted something a little different for this new novel, and I hadn't wanted to go down that tried and tested route of sticking a half naked, ripped, tattooed alpha male on the cover. Although, it seems to work for everyone else...

The original cover image.
Anyway, after the release of 'Protection', I couldn't help but keep going back to the other biker series' I've written - The Lone Riders and Soldiers of Darkness

The covers for those books were very uniform, you could tell at a glance what kind of books they were, what genre they fell into, and it was also very easy to tweak the covers for new books in the series. I wasn't sure this was going to be so easy for the Death Knights series. So, after a few days of thinking about it, I came to the decision to change the cover now, while the book is still in the early stages of release. 

And here it is - the brand new cover for 'Protection'...



And it makes sense, in reality, to keep up some kind of theme for the MC books I write, as you can see from them all here, together...


This new cover is much more obvious in terms of knowing exactly what kind of book it is, and when/if new books in the series come along it's going to be very easy to tweak the image and keep the theme. 


But, you may have noticed I used the word if there. Which means I may not be writing any more Death Knights MC books? The answer to that is, I don't know. The reaction to 'Protection', compared to all my other MC books, has been a bit soul-destroying, to be honest. Sales are way, way down compared to the others, there's only been one review so far, and that wasn't even a good one, and almost a week after its release there's still been no reaction. Nothing. Now, it could just be the fact that the publishing world is changing once again, because it is, without a doubt, incredibly hard to get your books out there and noticed as an indie author. Or, it could just be that this book isn't grabbing peoples' attention the way the others did. I don't know. But what I do know is that to spend time writing another book in a series that is failing to win readers over, well... it doesn't make me excited. If readers wanted more, like they did with the Lone Riders and Soldiers of Darkness series', then I would absolutely write that next book. I already have the story outline drafted out and the first few chapters written. But if readers don't want to read it, it's hard for me to get excited about writing something. And I want to be excited about the books I write. 

Now, I'm extremely proud of 'Protection', don't get me wrong. I give a very different take on MC Romance, I don't write your usual MC books, as some readers have already pointed out. I write them my way, but if that way is failing to capture the attention the way my previous series' did, then I think writing another Death Knights book, at this moment in time, may not be the way to go. I wrote 'Protection' as a standalone novel, there are no cliffhangers, the story is tied up by the end of the book. It was always my intention to make all the books in the Death Knights series standalone reads, and now, a week after the book's release, maybe that was the right decision. And maybe I need to go and think about the kind of book that will grab readers' attention. And write it...


'Protection' is available to download now, with its new cover, and its also FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

And thank you, once again, to all those faithful readers out there who continue to buy my books, encourage me through the rough times, and keep me going on this crazy writing journey of mine. Without you lot I'd probably be drinking way more vodka than I already do! 😉

Michelle x

Thursday, 18 May 2017

NEW RELEASE! It's Publication Day for 'Protection' - Death Knights MC #1


It's finally here! Today sees the publication of 'Protection', the first book in a series of stories revolving around outlaw motorcycle club the Death Knights...


Blurb

She ran, to save herself.
She loved him, to protect herself.
It wasn't enough...

Piper

I ran from a man who wanted me dead, and I found a man who wanted nothing more than to protect me. My soldier. He promised to keep me safe, and he did that. He kept his promise. Because the danger I find myself in now, I caused that. I put myself there, it's all my own doing. And he can't save me from that...



Vanni 

She came to me by chance, wanted my club to protect her, and I had no problem with that. As soon as I saw her I wanted her, but I knew she was damaged. She had secrets, things she didn’t want to tell me, and that was fine. ‘Cause I knew who she really was. I knew why she was running; what she was running from, I make it my job to know these things. And protecting her, that became my mission, even though it could bring all kinds of trouble to my door. I just had no idea that what I really should’ve been protecting her from; protecting US from – it was a lot closer to home… 

Logan


I have one loyalty now. The Death Knights. The club. My brothers, they saved me. I was damaged goods, I was messed-up, I still am, but that’s OK. It’s what I need. Messed-up means no-one gets too close, it’s not safe, I’m not going back there. No woman is ever gonna bring me down that low again, that’s a goddamn promise I made to myself, and I ain’t breaking it…



'Protection' is the first in a series of standalone novels involving the Death Knights MC. There are no cliffhangers. This particular story is tied up in this first book. **But please be aware that 'Protection' does contain strong language, sometimes quite graphic sex, and adult themes.**




'Protection' is available to download now, and it's also FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited!



And if you want to check out the first chapter of 'Protection' you can do so right HERE.

Thank you all, once again, for your continued support, and please, if you read, and hopefully enjoy 'Protection', I'd be incredibly grateful if you could spare a few minutes to pop over to Amazon and leave a review. For indie authors like me, reviews are a godsend, and those fabulous readers who leave them - you're all stars!

Have a great day!

Michelle x

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

I love you, Emmerdale, but right now I have a problem...

I love 'Emmerdale'. I mean, I really love 'Emmerdale', it's my favourite soap/continuing drama, whatever the hell it is we're calling these things now. I love it. 'Coronation Street' comes a reasonably close second, I stopped watching 'Eastenders' years ago and I'm way too old for 'Hollyoaks'. 'Emmerdale' is most definitely the one I sit down to watch religiously, every night. But, right now, I've got a bit of a problem with it. So, this post is very much my chance to have a little vent at the writers/producers, etc. regarding one ongoing story line, because it's kind of bugging me a little bit lot at the minute...

As a self-published author I've been watching the Tracy Metcalfe story unfold with interest. I started out pursuing my writing dream a good few years ago now, and it's been one hell of a **cliche warning ahead** roller-coaster. Seriously, it's been gut-wrenching, soul-destroying, exciting, heartbreaking... all of that. And, twenty-odd books later I'm still here, still battling on with that dream to try and make something of myself, get my books out there, and it's still soul-destroying/frustrating/exciting... Do I have a point here? Yes. I do. The point I'm trying to make is, it isn't easy. At all. It's hard, especially if you're a self-published author, but even if you manage to get yourself signed to a traditional publisher - I myself achieved that dream after years of self-publishing, and now have several books published through Harper Impulse, a division of Harper Collins publishers - it's still hard. 

I've seen both sides of the publishing coin, so to speak, and neither side is easy. But, as a self-published author far, far fewer doors open for you, believe me. So, to watch Tracy's books suddenly, just a couple of hours after Kerry took a box of them into town, get taken by a bookstore; for her to be offered a launch event and her own display, just like that, I don't know - I just found myself getting a little niggled by it all. And those niggles didn't really start there, either, they've been kicking around for a while, so, let's look at them in a bit more detail...

* OK, firstly, Tracy wrote that book in what seemed like a ridiculously quick amount of time. Now, I'm known for being a fast writer, but even I take at least a few weeks to knock out a first draft, and after that there are at least another couple of weeks of editing, formatting, cover design... you get my drift here? And just who, exactly, did Tracy's formatting? Because, I'm telling you, without my tech-savvy and extremely clever husband I'd be publishing absolutely nothing. Yes, you can pay people to format your ebooks/paperbacks, but you need money for that. A lot of money, these people don't come cheap, and there's a reason for that. Self-publishing isn't something you can just pick up in a day or two, it's a whole new learning curve, one I took years to get to grips with. So, I can only imagine that whatever platform Tracy published her ebook on, it was a lot less complicated than Amazon's. 

* She had her own hardback copies of the book printed. Do you know how much that would have cost??? And, I noticed, she's charging £10 for a hardback copy - that would mean she's making a loss. A big loss. No way would hardback copies of those books be able to have been printed for less than £10, I just can't see it.
I publish my own books in ebook and paperback format, and for me to make any profit on paperback sales (and I'm talking pence here, not pounds) I have to charge around £8-12 a copy. And at the minute there is no option to self-publish in hardback, at least, not with Amazon and KDP Select, so to go to a printer and have that many copies created, she must have shelled out a small fortune! With no sign of any profit on the horizon... 

* They managed to get a reporter to come down to do a piece on Tracy, straightaway. In my experience, that's just never happened. To begin with, as a self-published author I was ignored by all local papers/media. Not one response, by any of them, they just weren't interested, which angers me in a way. There are some amazing indie authors out there writing stuff that surpasses a lot of the traditionally published books I've read, but without that publisher's name behind them it's assumed they're just "playing" at this. Give us self-published authors more credit, we deserve it. But even when I was signed to Harper Impulse, when I had the name Harper Collins behind me, did it suddenly become easier to get local media interest? Did it hell! I made god knows how many phone calls, fired off countless emails, and I got two responses. Two. Out of weeks of hard work, trying to get myself and my books just a tiny bit of local interest, I managed to get one local radio interview (which I LOVED doing!), and one piece in the local press, where they got half the information wrong anyway. It's bloody tough out there, so for Kerry to get a local reporter to come to the shop almost immediately - I'm moving to that village...

* She's managed to get her own self-published book into a bookstore. Because it's that easy. It isn't, actually. Don't even bother with the big names, you'll be lucky if they even sniff in the direction of a self-published author, and whilst there's a better chance of a local bookstore offering to take your books, it's still a hard slog convincing them to take you at all, and if they do, they'll take a handful of your books and stick them on a shelf somewhere. It's possible that they would let you have your own signing within the store, but they usually make you guarantee to bring so many people, sell so many books, and pay for it all yourself. And while this is fine for people like the character of Tracy, who has a lot of help from friends and family, in the real world it plays out a lot differently. Getting your own books into bookstores is an achievable dream, but it doesn't usually happen as easy as 'Emmerdale' are making out, so I'm letting them off with that thing they call artistic licence on this one.

It is just a TV programme, I'm well aware of that, but why are some story-lines - such as the recently, brilliantly done Ashley and Laurel one - handled with such care and accuracy, while others like the 'Tracy suddenly becomes an author' one done with just a touch too much stretching of reality? I'm aware it's one of the lighter, more comedic stories, therefore we're supposed to take it as entertainment and not read too much into it, but the thing is, as a self-published author myself, I'm slightly concerned that some people watching may think it's that easy and that quick to achieve what Tracy's achieved. That isn't the norm, that story really is purely for entertainment. The reality can be as much fun, and it can be just as exciting, but it usually takes a lot more time, a lot more hard work, and a lot more headaches and heartache. But for me, I wouldn't swap it for the world. I love what I do, I love creating new stories, new characters, and seeing what happens when I put those books out there, and although I haven't, even after all these years, hit any kind of dizzying heights, or had my book in any bookstore, I'll keep on trying. And if Tracy's story has inspired anyone else out there to try their hand at writing, then that's only a good thing. Oh, and there's one thing they've definitely got right with this story - sex sells! However, if the next stage of this story involves a publisher suddenly discovering Tracy's talents and offering her a big money contract, I may be forced to write another post, after I've face-palmed myself several times... You can stretch reality just a touch too far sometimes...

Anyway, 'Emmerdale' bosses/writers, I'm just going to put this one, final thing out there - if you want a seasoned self-published author to give you an insight into her own experiences, you know, to help you with this story line in any way, I'm available to consult any time you need me. 😉


Meanwhile, in case anyone's interested, you can check out all of my books - the self-published ones, and the ones published through Harper Impulse - by clicking the link below. 



Have a great Wednesday!

Michelle x

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Not the "usual" MC vibe...? I write MC Romance, or do I...?


As a writer, it's very easy to let negative reviews and comments get to you. We've all experienced them, sometimes we even learn from them. But other times you read one that just makes it necessary to dust off the old blog and write a post.


Not the "usual" MC vibe...?
I had one such comment the other week, in a 2 star review for 'Revolution', the first ever MC Romance I wrote back in 2014. This review was titled "Not the usual MC vibe", and that's what got me thinking. I'm not bothered that this person didn't enjoy the book, I've come to realise that my writing can be quite divisive at times, but in that lies the problem with some readers, I'm guessing.

I didn't start out writing MC Romances. In the beginning I was very much a chick-lit/run-of-the-mill romance writer, as my earlier books illustrate. But I like to challenge myself, try new genres, and when the urge to write more darker romance hit, that's when I wandered into MC Romance territory, without actually realising what a minefield it can be! But, what exactly is this MC vibe the aforementioned reviewer mentioned? Is there one? Does there have to be? I'm not sure, I mean, how many readers out there have actually spent any time within the confines of a real-life motorcycle club? Let alone one that claims to contain one percenters, as most of my fictional clubs do. I know I haven't. I'm holding my hands up here and admitting that my research involves watching 'Gangland Undercover', with the rest coming from my extremely vivid, sometimes slightly twisted imagination. I haven't got a clue what it's like inside a real MC. So how would anyone know what the "usual" MC vibe was? That's all down to the author. Every MC is different, I'm almost sure of that. So why should every MC romance book be the same? If you like a certain style of MC book then that's fine, as a reader you stick with that because it's what you enjoy, but as a writer I refuse to copy or try to emulate other books out there, no matter what genre they are, just because a majority of people seem to find them popular. I can't do that. I have my own style, and I'm comfortable with that. It's what I write, and it definitely isn't to everyone's tastes but I didn't start writing to follow the herd or sell myself out just to try and sell more books. I write because it's what I love to do, and if people love reading my stories, then that's a bonus I am more than grateful for.

So, I'm not really concerned that my MC books don't fit the "usual" MC vibe; that some people love them and others don't like them at all, I'm fine with that. I write a very different kind of MC romance; tough, dark, twisted, and not always with a happy ending, so, be warned. If you know what this "usual" MC vibe is, and those are the books you enjoy, then you may well hate mine. But, if you're willing to try a different kind of ride, you might want to take a look at these...






And on May 18th a brand new ride begins with the release of 'Protection', the first book in the Death Knights MC series. You can check out the first few pages, for free, right HERE, and see whether it's your kind of thing, or not... and if it is, then click on one of the links below to pre-order your copy... 😉







My usual is unusual... are you ready for that kind of ride...? 


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

'Protection' (Death Knights MC Book #1) - Release date and pre-order details.

I now have a release date for Protection, the first book in a brand new MC Romance series. All books will be standalone stories, but they'll all revolve the Death Knights Motorcycle Club, its members, and the people who become involved with this outlaw MC...


Blurb

Piper 

I ran from a man who wanted me dead, and I found a man who wanted nothing more than to protect me. My soldier. He promised to keep me safe, and he did that. He kept his promise. Because the danger I find myself in now, I caused that. I put myself there, it's all my own doing. And he can't save me from that...

Vanni 

She came to me by chance, wanted my club to protect her, and I had no problem with that. As soon as I saw her I wanted her, but I knew she was damaged. She had secrets, things she didn’t want to tell me, and that was fine. ‘Cause I knew who she really was. I knew why she was running; what she was running from, I make it my job to know these things. And protecting her, that became my mission, even though it could bring all kinds of trouble to my door. I just had no idea that what I really should’ve been protecting her from; protecting US from – it was a lot closer to home… 

Logan

I have one loyalty now. The Death Knights. The club. My brothers, they saved me. I was damaged goods, I was messed-up, I still am, but that’s OK. It’s what I need. Messed-up means no-one gets too close, it’s not safe, I’m not going back there. No woman is ever gonna bring me down that low again, that’s a goddamn promise I made to myself, and I ain’t breaking it…




Protection will be released May 18th, and it's available to pre-order right now from Amazon.



Watch this space for more details as release day grows closer, and also keep an eye out here on my blog for some news regarding a secret project I'm working on that's due for release later in the year, and it's one I'm quite excited about... Have a great day, whatever you're up to!

Michelle x

Monday, 3 April 2017

Willfully Hers has been nominated for Cover of the Month!

Yes, that's exactly what's happened! Willfully Hers has, indeed, been nominated in April's Cover of the Month competition over on All Author. But I desperately need your votes to help me get off the ground with this, I'm seriously lagging behind the others at the minutes. So, if anyone out there could, please, spare just a few seconds to click HERE and vote for my cover - which I think is fabulous! ;) - I'd be so, so grateful. Not seen the cover yet? Check it out below...


Think it deserves a vote? You know what to do... just click HERE. And thank you again to anyone who takes the time to pop over there and vote for me. It's really appreciated.

Michelle x