Recommendations and Reviews

Responding to today’s daily prompt: Conversant

On this crazy journey of self-publishing I’ve found myself opening up a dialogue to my readers. So far, I have to admit that I love it. Probably because all of the feedback has been really positive and sent me running around the house going Sqeeeeeeeee.

After all, what is a story without reviews? I’ve been left totally humbled by the feedback I’ve received so far and am delighted to share these with you. 😊 *happy dancing* Besides, the ebook is currently available at 99c, or free on Amazon’s kindle unlimited. If I can tempt you into a copy I would love to have your feedback.

5starsOne of the best books I’ve read this year! I loved this fantasy tale of magic, romance and a girl trying to figure out the truth about her past and herself. The writing is fluid with vivid descriptions that bring the world to life. -Alison Dec 2017

starsOMG THAT ENDING. I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next book. I found it highly engaging and almost impossible to put down. I enjoyed the originality of the story line, and I found Feia very relatable.  – Kelsay Nov 2017

5starsSo all I can say is WOW! This book had me from the start. From the beginning it pulls you in and keeps you there. Even during some “slow” parts, I found myself wanted to read more just to find out what happens next. From open to close, I wanted to keep reading.- Kira Feb 2018

starsThis was a really good book!! It was hard to put down! There is magic and a little romance and friendship all mixed in! – Denise Dec 2017

5starsThis book honestly captured my imagination and I was up until the early hours as I just couldn’t put it down! Can’t wait for the next instalment and hope I don’t have to wait too long! I really recommend this book for all those fantasy lovers out there 🙂 – Lydia Dec 2017

starsI really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to other readers of Fantasy – Miss A. Jan 2018

If you’ve read Burning Embers, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads (or both!) because they make such a huge difference to new readers being able to find the story.

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Burning Embers is available in Paperback and Ebook in the following places:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

You can also download a short story that ties in for free: The Last Charter is in another bundle of other short stories! Short Month: Short Stories

Happy Reading! I would love to hear your feedback on Burning Embers!

Fibi xx

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The uneducated rumbled Rube.

I’ll be honest – I had to look this daily prompt up and work out what it meant: Rube! It’s a word that I’ve never come across before. However, I have recently been writing a chapter where I think this is demonstrated…

The tower appeared on the road. Made from large grey stones, hewn from the local mountain side it was quickly lost in the canopy as they drew closer. It was a large square building with stables and cleared paddock beside it. A pair of bay horses looked up as they approached, tails shaking off the pestilence of summer flies. A large archway extended across from the side of the tower, over the road. Where the pillars of the arch ended, and on the far side of the tower, a stone wall extended. This was the border between Ipito and Staven.

They were forced to slow their horses, or charge through the guards who stood in the centre of the arch. Their helmets were rounded at the top and shone with polish. They were both tall, broad men wearing chain main beneath a tunic with the King’s crest emblazoned on the front. As Kit and Lyris approached, they levelled spears at the charging horses, the wooden butts pressed into the hard dirt and steadying the points. Kit’s pony was first to stop, skidding to a halt and twisting away. Kit turned her quickly and waved a greeting at the men.

Storm, always reluctant to obey anyone other than his own desires had run further and was forced to rear, kicking out at the spears. Lyris clung to his neck, praying that she wouldn’t fall off and break her neck, before they could rescue Arn. When the horse landed on his four feet again, huffing with fury, he danced on light feet and she remained, clinging to his main. Her legs and arms felt like water, flowing and trembling with every small movement. This was not the time to be afraid. The young woman forced herself to sit up. Sparrows were hopping between the pine trees and a hawk circled overhead, casting a shadow on the mottled ground.

‘Speak,’ the first guard demanded, ‘what is your business in Staven?’

‘Did a cart pass this way?’ The words tumbled free, breathless. Lyris had intended to introduce herself, thoughts of formal requests for help spinning through her mind. The young woman knew that she needed their assistance, and quick passage through the pass but despite the churning concern, the words came again before the guard could answer. Lyris steadied Storm with a hand against the tall horses’ neck.

‘Did a cart pass this way?’ She demanded, urgent.

The guard, affronted, glanced at his companion before, features stern. ‘Our question first, mistress.’

As Lyris opened her mouth to protest, he lifted a gloved hand from the spear and set the weapon on it’s end resting against his shoulder. The guard beside him copied his action and Lyris felt Storm release a breath of tension. Long legs quivering beneath her.

‘It’s our duty to stop and question all those who pass,’ confident that he had regained control the first man had settled into a slower speech and northern drawl. His a’s and r’s extending.

Kit had circled his pony again and drew level with his companion.

‘Sir,’ he bowed low across the front of the saddle, hand swept with dramatic gallantry to one side. The trader looked to Lyris, begging a moment of her patience before he continued. ‘We’re tracking a wagon that passed through these gates,’

The guards looked uninspired.

‘Has a wagon passed through?’

The young woman lifted her eyes to the heavens, the pale blue sky was starting to darken again. A natural rain was gathering at the peak of the mountain.  If they could move on with their journey, she could track Arn without draining her powers.

‘A lot of wagons’ pass through here, lad,’ the first guard lent on his spear, ‘but that doesn’t explain your business beyond the border.’

So this is more of an extract from the Poisoned Well and it’s the chapter responsible for slowing me down! The paragraphs from this section must have been written months apart but hopefully you can’t notice…

New Year New Goals!

Welcome to 2018 everyone, I hope that you all have a year filled with health and happiness.

Now in Conversation with myself…

This is just a very short post to catch up and tick off some goals from last year – yay reflection.

So what was my aim with the fibijeeves blog entering 2017?

2017 Goals

Well, I intended to be publish a book – Success! I was published in three books over the year and of course this includes my book baby, Burning Embers.

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I wanted to sell at least one copy of Burning Embers to someone who wasn’t my Mother – success!

Have over 1000 views to the blog – Success!

Have over 300 visitors to the blog – Success!

Reach 250 subscribers – Success!

Surprise ‘stretch goals’ for 2017

Receive a review for Burning Embers – Success! I’ll be posting some of the gorgeous reviews up in the coming days.

Have the most amount of views since the blog began in 2013 – not quite, I was 65 views short.

Update my wordpress blog to it’s own domain – Success!

To look ahead, what do I intend to achieve?

2018 Goals

Publish: The Poisoned Well

Reach 450 Subscribers

Have 1500 views of the blog

Continue writing the second instalment of The Shadows Return…

Have you set out goals for the year ahead? I’ve really enjoyed seeing the aims I set out for myself come true, and they’ve acted as a real motivator to keep going!

What are you goals for the new year?

Happy Reading!

Fibi xxx

To strut, to saunter, to parade and promenade

There was an interview with David Jason aeons ago, where he said that the first thing he finds in a character, is the walk. Trying to move away from aesthetic descriptions of my heroes and heroines in Burning Embers, I keep this idea in mind. How much of a person can be given away by their movements?

We all have tells, and unconscious signals that we share with the world. Something I find successful in layering my characters, are the small motions that they make when nervous. They’re not something I telegraph to my reader, but you’ll often find my protagonists or their companions putting their hands to their faces.

What does it mean when someone covers their mouth when speaking? Does it mean that they’re lying, or they don’t really want you to hear what they say? Some people when nervous scratch the back of their necks, or fiddle with their clothes. What about a character who gives nothing away, who is conspicuous by their lack of nervous responses? Are they without fear, or are they afraid of something even bigger.

I feel that I have digressed from the daily prompt: Strut, but I guess that’s why we’re given them; to roam freely on a subject and see where we will land.

Updates from the week:

I was featured as a guest blogger for Black Hart Story Tellers – they’ve published my hints and tips for writing horror that can be found: here

Secondly, I’m delighted to announced that for those who purchase a signed first edition copy of Burning Embers from fionajeeves.com will also receive a limited edition, numbered print with their book! Only 50 5” x 8” prints will be made to go alongside the release. I would love to know what you think!

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Burning Embers for Pre-Order!

Thank you for sticking with me! For those who remain Loyal, despite the many many years of waiting…

Burning Embers is now available for pre-order! I repeat, this is not a drill, Burning Embers is available for pre-order! For someone who spends their life writing and living between sentences it is so hard to express just how excited I am about this!

So far the ebook version is available to pre-order until the 1st of December when it will be available for you to read in full.  You can purchase Burning Embers on Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Google with more to follow.

Look here it is! My book, on Amazon!

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Ebooks are incredible and easy to transport, but Burning Embers will also be available in Printed format as well. As soon as pre-orders of the paperback are available I will let you know!

Calling all reviewers:

Would you like to review Burning Embers? If so drop me an e-mail at fibijeeves@gmail.com with your blog details and I’ll be happy to send you a copy!

Slim Grip on Reality

In response to the Daily Prompt: Cling

Rough seas rise up, dark and murky. Toes stretching in a frantic search for solid ground and arms flail for the coarse grip of rope.

The submissions are sent and my author-neurotic self is running circles, yelping oh my god, oh my god what if no one wants it! What if it’s not worthy, what if I’m not worthy?! Years of hard work and effort wasted? What will I say? How will I explain that I have failed? Once I’ve found a moment to breathe I remind myself that if traditional publishing is not my route, then the world won’t end. In the words of Obama, the sun will continue to rise. In the words of myself, of the things that are certain in this world, it’s that there is always change. Sometimes it just seems to take longer to get arrive. (Sometimes it feels like change got on the wrong bus and is now on a circular route and stuck in M25 traffic, but hey – it’ll get here.)

My journey as a writer will continue. Having simply finished the manuscript and sent it out, I feel rejuvenated (and then terrified) but mostly rejuvenated to start new projects; exciting projects! The second book in the series, a selection of short pieces for radio, a collaborative novella with an intended publisher in mind! Exciting, exciting, exciting!

Burning Embers will also, one way or another, live on. I believe that as Young Adult Fantasy is has a current market. As a genre it’s a saturated market, but I have to believe that I’ve got a unique voice to offer and a story that my readers will fall in love with, a world they won’t want to leave and characters that they’re desperate to champion. That is after all, the dream.

So, in the moments after the panic and in between the project planning, I look at self-publishing options. This blog was always supposed to explore the traditional and the non-traditional and so today I’m going to share a few things that I’ve recently learnt about self-publishing options.

  1. The book needs an ISBN if I’m going to do this. It’s not strictly needed for e-book but I’m vain and prideful and I want to hold my book in my hands! If I want to sell a printed version, it needs an ISBN and then and ISBN printed barcode – this means it can be sold. Hooray
  2. I want the ISBN to be registered in my name. This means I retain the rights as the publisher as well as the Author – double win.
  3. I need to generate more of an online presence. Kew twitter feed, reviewing other peoples works, finding an audience of peer reviewers (how do I find you lovely people?) Beta testers! I need to create a circle of people who are going to be just as excited about the book as I am. To be honest – this works in both versions. If there’s an agent or a publishing contract out there for Burning Embers, then building this circle up is still going to be important.
  4. I would like Burning Embers to be available as an ebook, and in print. I’d like it on Amazon and I’d also like it with Neilson and Gardeners, so that this way the big chain stores have a chance in stocking it. You have to fill out a lot of appropriate paperwork and there is still no guarantee, but if the book is not with a wholesaler/distributer – it’s not going to happen.
  5. I would really like someone to do a lot of the hard work for me. You have to send five copies of your printed book out to specific libraries here in the UK so that it’s legally listed. It’s something I’m capable of doing but right now my brain hurts.
  6. I would also like someone to make the copy-set pretty. This is also beyond my skill.
  7. Could they make the cover too?

So this is what I’m looking for, and I don’t have an enormous budget. My list of demands are the above plus 100 copies of the book. A press release, merchandise and other things I think I can probably do. I’ve even worked out how to get a paypal button on here, wordpress, so that I could sell and distribute the book myself. I’m doing a lot of research and maybe I’ll never need to use it. Perhaps though, I will.

If you’re considering self-publishing, do all of the reading. The pages and pages of PDF’s offered on the company websites. Compare them for the services they offer and the rights that you retain. If you get 100% royalties, that’s awesome, but do you own the ISBN?

It might be construed that I am procrastinating as I wait for replies to return to my inbox. I know myself though, I need to keep my mind busy. Research into a positive outcome is currently my life line and I’m going to hold on dreaming, for as long as I can.

If you have any advice of finding that circle of reviewers, I’d love to hear it!

 

Distractions, Distractions, Distractions – No More!

The manuscript is done! The Christmas Holidays gave me a good opportunity to finish the final edit. It has been a lengthy process and would have been quicker with so few distractions. The majority of last year was spent writing short stories on writing forums. With so much history with Burning Embers, I couldn’t face returning to it.

Was the time wasted? No, I don’t think so. Most of it was spent feeling very guilty about my neglected manuscript. The printed papers were moved from desk, to drawer, to desk and then at what I consider to be the lowest ebb – stuffed in a bookshelf. The guilt though, the writing guilt is gone. Writing on forums I was able to rediscover the sheer joy of putting prose to paper and working to captivate an audience. I’ve developed some new characters and their voices are strong and their stories are interesting. I’ve enjoyed playing with technique, expanding dialogue and exploring a new world with other writers and I’m confident in the impact it has made in my writing. I worry that some of the rules on structure, grammar and style have slipped out of my ears but I can tweak those more easily than I can learn to write a sense of place and expand emotion. I’m proud of the thousands of words I’ve churned out in the last year, even if they’re not on my blog and won’t make it to print. I’m excited to work with writing partners in the future, with a few collaborative projects in development.

Back to the manuscript – you see how easy it is to be side tracked?

In my mind, it was an insurmountable task. 310 pages of printed 1.5 spaced A4 text. 110,000 words to be carefully cultivated and on occasion, brutally hacked with a machete, (there’s shredded paper everywhere) The edit has been my Everest, my Mount Doom and now it is done. I feel like I’ve shaken off a huge weight around my ankles and I’m floating around. This isn’t namby-pamby floating though. After the colossal final edit was done, I went through with a few additional culls. The filler word culprits this time were: but, though and so. Cut them! Cut them all!

Once the post-edit euphoria has faded I’m sure I’ll come down from my excitement. It is difficult though, as I’ve started submitting to agents and indie publishers who accept Young Adult, or New Adult Fantasy. A whole new genre appeared whilst I’ve been writing my book, who knew?! (Apparently not me, as I’ve had my head in a computer for a year)

I might be back to where I began with this blog a few years ago, but I’m better for it and I am excited for the future.