Thursday, 26 December 2013

Bookseekers - a great new site to find books for children!

My books are now listed on a great site that helps search for books for children.  More info below - do check it out!


ABOUT BOOKSEEKERS

We love kids' books, and we've created www.thebookseekers.com to help parents and kids of all ages find the very best books to read. Come and join in...
Finding the one that is right for you can, though, be tricky. To help you navigate through the huge set of choices available for kids – from toddlers to teens - we’ve created www.TheBookSeekers.com. Here you can search for books using keywords, find a book based on ones you already like and browse themed collections of all kinds. Our Books in Series section does exactly what it says – shows all the books in a series, and the order they should be read in. And if you want books aimed at beginner readers, explore our Learn to Read section. Register your interest now to be the first to see the site when it launches - you might find something wonderful…

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The business of writing workshop

I’m teaching a workshop in Canterbury next year called The Business of Writing: Getting Published.  Details below.  The workshops get booked up fast!

Date: Saturday 1 March 2014 | 10am-4pm
Will 2014 be the year your novel or short stories are published? This day school offers tips and advice from a professional writer who shares her personal experiences of both being traditionally published and successfully going down the independent route of publishing e-books via Amazon. Marketing, selling, agents, publishers, blogging and social media are also discussed.

Cost: £27.50 | code: cccuds141
Canterbury Christchurch University
North Holmes Road,
Canterbury,
Kent. CT1 1QU

To book go to the link below and scroll down to the course.
http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/community-arts-education/day-schools/spring-2014.asp

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Are you a book snob? (Postscript)

Back in September I had a little rant about the public and proud snobbery  at the University of Kent's Creative Writing Centre, who belittled commercial fiction and children's authors.
http://www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/are-you-book-snob.html

So I was interested to read how they had recapitulated (kind of) and glad to discover I wasn't the only one to take offence.  Judging the quality of writing by genre is both misguided and unhelpful, amongst other things.  Click below to read more....

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/02/kent-university-childrens-books-creative-writing?commentpage=1

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Joyrider only 99p for 7 days!

My dark horse mystery drama for children, teens and horse-loving adults will be LESS THAN HALF PRICE for the next 7 DAYS as part of the Kindle Countdown Deal!

So if you fancy a read for JUST 99p and want to grab it before the price reverts back to  £2.01 click on the icon on the sidebar.

About Joyrider by Jane Ayres

Fourteen year old Linzi has it all. Or so it seems. She's bright, pretty, popular, lives in a glamorous clifftop apartment and has her own perfect horse - a stunning copper chestnut gelding called Ambrose. But appearances can be very deceptive....

On the other side of the sleepy seaside town, teenager Bex lives in a tiny flat with her widowed mum above the café they both run. She's prickly, moody, and a loner, trying to escape from her tragic past. She doesn't want friends - especially not girls like Linzi.

Linzi suspects her rival, Sheldon, who resents her for beating him to a place in the jumping team, is the mystery joyrider - someone who takes other peoples horses at night and rides them - and she is furious when her beloved Ambrose is targeted. However, afterwards, Ambrose seems different, and Linzi is baffled to discover that his behaviour is much better than before. Can the joyrider have a magic touch?

She determines to solve the mystery and discover the true identity - and motives - of the joyrider. But in the process she soon finds herself - and Bex - in terrible danger.

This exciting novella is a fast paced read for children, pre-teens, teenagers and young adults.


Available in all Amazon territories. 

Amazon links:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Joyrider-ebook/dp/B00F7V247Y
http://www.amazon.com/Joyrider-ebook/dp/B00F7V247Y

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Female Gothic: words, sounds and storytelling

Do you have any favourite words?  Or are there words or phrases that really grate?
If I hear someone in the media say “robust” one more time I will scream.  Another phrase I strongly dislike is “punching above their weight.”  It makes my skin crawl.

I’ve been reading a lot recently, both fiction and non-fiction, and I’ve nearly finished a bestselling novel which is structured in an unusual but disjointed manner.  I haven’t warmed to the protagonist and I’m not exactly enjoying it, but the concept interests me so I want to see what happens.  And I’ve realised that my problem with the book is not the story, but the writing.  I just don’t like the words the author uses.   Or the way she wields them.

The sounds of words matter.  Magenta.  Melisma.  Luminosity.  Vortex. I enjoy elegant sentences, repetition when skilfully used.   I recently saw an eerie one woman show* at our local theatre – a retelling of Victorian ghost stories by lesser known female writers – which reminded me of the power of the spoken word.  There were few props needed;  a chair, candles and spooky lighting created the atmosphere and intimacy between actress and audience. Towards the end, the storyteller spoke of birth and death as simply a reordering, reorganisation of matter.  I liked that.  And after the stories had stirred our senses, unsettling and disturbing with fear of the unknown – the root of all fear -  those words were strangely comforting.


* The show was called Victorian Gothic and is highly recommended!  The weblink is here



Related posts:

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Fussy Librarian - great resource for readers and authors!

My book Beware of the Horse is being featured today at The Fussy Librarian, a new website that offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from 40 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic. It's a great idea - for readers and authors -- do check it out! 

www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Book covers: working with an illustrator

Book covers are hugely important in the success of a book, and I really enjoy working on my indie pubbed titles with a brilliant designer.  Like many authors, we use images from image libraries such as i-stockphoto.com.  Of course, there are drawbacks to this.

1.       If can be very time consuming scouring images to find exactly what you want
2.       It isn’t always possible to find exactly what you want
3.       When you do, it might be too expensive for your budget
4.       When you do, you might find that image has been used before – and unless you do a Google image search, you won’t know where.  For instance, the first image I used for a book cover, I discovered, the day after publication, that another author has used the same image.  Although we had modified ours, it was still instantly recognisable.

So I decided to stretch my budget and commission an illustrator to produce an image that is exactly what I want, completely distinctive and unique. Via Facebook, I accidentally came across a wonderful artist called Sarah who specialises in drawing and painting animals.  Having seen some stunning horse portraits, I got in touch last year and recently we met, talked and she has agreed to produce the image for one of my forthcoming titles, The Perfect Horse.  It was important that the horse in question be breathtakingly beautiful – perfect, in fact, - since although the story is a thrilling pony book aimed at children and teenagers, there is a twist, and it involves genetic engineering…….

Sarah charts her progress on her Facebook page so that readers can see how the illustration work is evolving, which is a great idea. I can’t wait to see the finished result. Watch this space!

Photo: Not very good with loose work! But ideas of colour running though the piece!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Coffee in the Midnight Sun

A new travel website offers opportunities for writers to send in articles - and they are running a competition!

I've got a short piece in today, all about a previous summer visit to Iceland, called Coffee in the Midnight Sun.  Click to read http://travelexpert.org.uk/coffee-midnight-sun/

Iceland has a truly inspirational landscape and is a photographer's dream.

They've included 2 pics by my brother Chris Ayres  - who has an AMAZING album of photos on flickr - click http://www.flickr.com/photos/scuba_beer/sets/

Plus the article features one of my modest efforts of Iceland's famous church.  And below is a stunning pic from my partner Roger taken during our visit.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall by Roger Hyland



Sunday, 10 November 2013

The horse in my heart: FREE until Friday!



My new e-book The Horse in my Heart is now available from Amazon and will be FREE to download until Friday.

All writers have a book that they are especially proud of, and for me, this is that book.  It's an emotional story of love, friendship and loss, and, although now out of print, it was the bestselling of all my novels, selling over 162,000 copies in 7 countries. (The original title was Transitions). As with other titles in my out of print backlist, I have revised and updated the story and reissued it as an e-book in the hope that a new generation of readers will enjoy it.

If you want to try it out here are the Amazon links for US and UK: (it is also available in all other Amazon territories).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Horse-Heart-Jane-Ayres-ebook/dp/B00GJYWGFS

And this is the product description:

Now, leaning on the fence, letting the soft breeze stroke my face while I watch my sweet bay horse grazing beneath the apple tree, it’s as if everything is normal and nothing has changed. But everything has changed. Forever. 

Reading Elizabeth’s diary, a year after it all happened, I experienced a strange feeling of unreality. Perhaps it was a dream. Perhaps it should have been. Sometimes, I wonder what her horse thinks of it all (he is still her horse, and always will be). Because horses remember everything. In fact, they have amazing memories, better than humans. Most of all they have souls. Deep, fathomless souls. 
And a great capacity for love. 

When nervous rider Annie innocently responds to an advert for a horse for sale, she wants a steady safe ride, but instead finds herself drawn to the lively Rocket - and his owner, the enigmatic teenager, Elizabeth. Annie knows she could never manage a horse like Rocket but Elizabeth won't listen. 
It’s a stormy start to a friendship that will change both of their lives dramatically. Because Elizabeth is on a mission to find a home – the right home – for her beloved bay rescue horse, and, despite everything, she’s convinced Annie is the one. 

But why is Elizabeth in such a hurry to find a home for the horse she clearly loves so much? When she discovers the reason, Annie is devastated. And time is running out….. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Writing and OCD

In a previous blog post I talked about the concept of writing what haunts us, and how it influences the topics we choose. Clearly, our psychological make-up is bound to affect the way we write – and the characters we create.  

Earlier in the year I watched a TV documentary called OCD Extreme Challenge, which followed the progress of a group of young people who were all debilitated by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and wanted to improve their condition.

People who don’t suffer from OCD or phobias find it hard to understand.  Saying “pull yourself together really doesn’t work”.  The fear is real.  Most OCD sufferers hate being the way they are and are desperate to be “normal.”  They try to hide their issues and use strategies to give the impression they are like everyone else. It’s hard work. 

This was riveting viewing and also very moving. The participants were brave to allow their situation to be observed to help others and risk ridicule from those who just don’t understand what it feels like to be at the mercy of OCD.   Two of the young people had contamination OCD, which involved excessive hand washing, and fear of public places and therefore eating out. 

Physical challenges were part of the therapy, the theory being if you can conquer extreme physical obstacles, the resulting self-confidence enables you to cope better with the OCD.  So you trick your brain into thinking you can do anything.  I suspect overcoming any major challenge, physical or not, can achieve the same results. 

The therapist did not try to cure them, but instead helped them come to terms with living with uncertainty, confronting the fears and extreme rituals.  Because fear of the unknown and not being in control is at the root of OCD.  Freedom from being controlled by their condition is what sufferers seek; because, ironically, we are control freaks.  We need to be in control of our environment in ways that, realistically, we can’t be.  And constantly fighting the resulting pervasive intrusive thoughts is exhausting.   

About 20 years ago, I saw a CBT therapist and it gave me some tools to enable me to cope better.  I had a phobia about anything medical, and debilitating checking routines, as well as a travel phobia.  The therapy enabled me to travel abroad,  even managing a trip to Bali (an exceptionally stressful 7 days,  since it exposed me  to almost every anxiety and hang-up – and succeeded in reinforcing my fears!). 

Caring for my parents, I had to confront my medical phobias head on, which I did, and you would think, (as I did) that this would cure the phobias.  But in fact, despite finding ways to manage the fears so I wasn’t crippled by them, they actually became worse – especially after losing both parents to cancer.  

I have recorded some of my thoughts in notebooks, and writing down how I feel does help.  Writing as therapy. 

In the 1980s, I wrote a short piece about my underground train phobia, which I called Only 3 Stops, published in the excellent QWF magazine.  But, apart from a short ghost story,  I’ve not really explored it in my fiction – yet. There are few fictional characters with OCD that I can name who are main protagonists, which is a shame, because there are lots of sufferers out there.  The TV detective series  Monk was refreshing in that the detective hero had crippling OCD (which of course helps him solve the crimes).  And one of my favourite characters is Sheldon, the theoretical physicist in the wonderful TV sit com The Big Bang Theory.  I laugh because I recognise much of the behaviour, and what, to non-sufferers, may seem ridiculous and strange, to me demonstrates logic and common sense! It all boils down to the way we think about things.  I believe that neuroscientists have identified faulty brain wiring in OCD sufferers and I hope that developments in this field will continue.  If there was a cure for OCD it would be life-changing. 

Related post: http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/write-what-haunts-you.html

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Making a book trailer: 20 Steps I took before, during and after making my first book trailer

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1.       I took time and did not hurry the process
2.       I studied a lot of book trailers on You Tube – some good, some not so much, some done by pro teams and publishers, others by authors.
3.       I had a small budget so needed to be creative
4.       I worked with a professional designer, Klaus Hartleben,  who I trust, respect and who designs my kindle covers. Yes, you can do it yourself – all of it – but I am not a designer so I would rather pay someone else to do this bit so it looks as professional as possible
5.       I wanted specially written original music so commissioned a professional composer to do it.  I love Barry Seaman’s music and knew it would be good. Music really enhances the storytelling in the trailer and brings out the emotion.
6.       I chose the words for the trailer – this took time and a lot of careful thought.  I made several drafts before I was totally happy.  Did it tell a story?  Did it engage the viewer?
7.       I picked stock photo images – again carefully chosen.  I did change a few after my original selections.
8.       A book trailer is like a mini film.  It has to intrigue people above all else and engage them emotionally.
9.       I asked the opinions of two people not involved in the process for a more objective view.  It’s too easy to fall in love with your own creations and lose sight of their purpose!
10.    After seeing the first draft of the trailer, (without the music) I got even more picky, and edited words and images again – just subtle changes. 
11.    I made sure the trailer info on You Tube had the book links and my blog links.
12.    After the final version was complete, I waited and reflected for a while, to make sure I was totally happy, before loading onto You Tube.
13.    After it had received around 50 hits, I added it to my Amazon author pages for the UK and US.
14.    I sent it out – in individual messages (not a mass email) – to friends, colleagues and associates, plus all organisations that might be interested. 
15.    I did the same with my Linked in networks.
16.    With Facebook groups, I also sent individual messages – never assume it’s okay to just post on someone else’s page without asking permission.
17.    After a week, I checked my book sales to see what effect the book trailer might have had.
18.    I did the same with my blog to see if any viewers were finding it via You Tube.
19.    Between 20 and 28 October it had 344 views.  I had the search title as Coming Home by Jane Ayres. There are lots of other book trailers for the same title, ie, plenty of other books called Coming Home.  Was mine getting lost? So on 29 October I changed the search title to Norwegian Forest Cat Adventure book trailer to see if it improves the visibility. 
20.    If having a book trailer results in more books sales, I plan to do a trailer for another title in the near future – possibly more.  A book trailer is an investment of time and money.  So is it worth it?  It's too early to say yet.

I couldn’t figure how to embed clickable weblinks into book trailers, and I couldn’t find any that do this.  So if you know how to do this I would love to hear from you! In the fast, impatient world that we live in, with instant clicks to anything we want,  I wonder how many people will want to scroll to the info after viewing the trailer to click on the Buy links?  Any feedback on this very welcome!

I’m happy with the result of all our work with the trailer - what do you think? 

If you enjoy Barry's music you might also like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIyhg8e04cI






Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Book trailer for Coming Home!!

So here it is at last!  My first ever book trailer!  I'm really excited - it was a first for myself (I wrote the words and chose the images), the designer and the composer and I'm so pleased with the result. 

It is to promote my cat story Coming Home and has original music specially composed.

All royalties from the book sales go to the charity Cats Protection. Thanks if you are able to share! 

Click the link to view:
http://youtu.be/aweX0y3lvL4


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Coming Home book trailer - coming soon!

Along with a designer and a composer I have been working hard on my first ever book trailer for my cat book, Coming Home - and it is ready to launch!  Watch this space!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Monday, 30 September 2013

Which fictional character would you like to be?

When I was a very small child I was in love with Superman.  I wanted to marry him.  I have always been fascinated by superheroes and their abilities to fight injustice.


Being a shy, reserved, bookish child and teenager, I wasn’t exactly superhero material and I wouldn’t have fared well in a fight.  However, having said that, I remember several occasions when friends were being bullied and instead of running, something inside me snapped and some primitive instinct took over and I attacked on their behalf.  Not quite the Incredible Hulk, but I understand where that comes from.  I still get angry when I witness bullying, whether that takes the form of selfish aggressive drivers or multinational corporations squeezing their small business suppliers to the point of bankruptcy.  Bullying can take many forms. 

I was in my mid-forties when I first encountered Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I fell in love with the character.  I wanted to be her – to have her looks, her style, her youth, her friends, and – most of all – her super abilities to kick ass!

The show itself combined so many of the elements I loved - great characters, fantastic dialogue (which really influenced my writing style at the time) and vampires!   I looked forward every week to a new episode, and when it was on, everything else got ignored, including the phone.  For that hour, I could immerse myself in fantasy and wish fulfilment.

I did manage to get myself a Buffy sweatshirt hoodie from ebay and wore it when I was teaching, to the amusement of my students.  But that was the nearest I came to being Buffy.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Author Millionaire Boot Camp - kickstart your marketing!

If any more writer friends fancy joining me, I’m off to The Millionaire Bootcamp for Authors, from 1st to 3rd November in London. My author marketing needs a good kick up the behind so hoping this will help me!


From the website: The MILLIONAIRE BOOTCAMP FOR AUTHORS, is happening in London from 1st-3rd November.
The speakers will show you how to:
* Make £1 million+ sales from your book or e-books. 
* Earn $20,000 per month with Kindle books.
* Quickly and easily achieve international bestseller status.
* Get your book into high street stores like WH Smith.
* And much more... 
Okay, so it sounds too good to be true, but for only £37 I'm willing to gamble, because I'm always keen to learn new skills, meet fellow writers and industry professionals, and I'm always up for new ideas!   And it looks like fun!

Click here to get your earlybird ticket for just £37:http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?af=1557367

Check out the website for more info about the speakers. 
http://www.millionaireauthorsbootcamp.com/speakers.html


Related posts:
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-further-mysteries-of-author.html
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/self-promotion-ego-and-creative.html

We are stories: narrative and the grieving process

photo by Roger Hyland

I've just written a piece for the art ezine Creatabot which starts like this:

The concept of stories, storytelling and narrative fascinates me and is a constant source of discovery.  I’ve also explored the idea of writing as therapy for depression and grief.  In the search to understand my personal grieving process I have explored fiction and non-fiction, and recently read How we Grieve: Relearning the world by Thomas Attig (OUP, 1996) which suggests a way of thinking that I had not previously considered and which makes perfect sense – especially if you are a writer. In discussing how we relearn our relationships with the loved ones we have lost, the author suggests...(click on link to read post)

http://creatabot.co.uk/2013/09/28/we-are-stories-by-jane-ayres/

Related posts:
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/grief-and-writing-routine.html
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/write-what-haunts-you.html
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/picking-flowers.html
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/wise-words.html

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Self-promotion, the ego and the creative

A while back, I listened to author Edna O’Brien on the radio, talking about the intense concentration needed to write, especially memoir, and how social media dilutes our focus and is so egotistical.

I agree about writing.  I agree that social media can be used as a tool for the ego. And I agree that it can definitely dilute our focus as writers. 

However, this got me thinking about writers promoting themselves.  When you are pursuing the indie route,  unless you pay someone else to do it for you, you have to promote yourself.  How is that different to a publisher doing your marketing and PR?  And if a third party is doing it on your behalf, they are still telling the world how great you are. So is it okay for someone else to big you up, but not okay for you to express this?  Perhaps it’s a symptom of our weird British modesty - a fear of blowing our own trumpet?  That it is somehow wrong to believe you are good, let alone voice that self-confidence? 

An indie writer is a business.  You have to promote a business to survive and no-one seems to object to this but again when it comes to a creative, somehow different standards apply.  How else are we supposed to do it?  Are we supposed to starve in garrets http://creatabot.co.uk/2012/11/01/garrets-and-gatekeepers-by-jane-ayres/ while we sit back and wait to be recognised and lifted from obscurity to the realms of fame?  The internet has provided us with unparalleled opportunities to bypass this old hierarchical system.   It doesn’t mean it’s easy (it’s very tough indeed!) but it does mean we don’t have to wait for approval; we can put ourselves and our work “out there” and wait for the recipients, be they readers, listeners, etc. to respond directly without the barrier of a gatekeeper. 

So why do we drown in pools of false modesty?  Maybe secretly we don’t really think we are worth it (sorry, L’Oreal).  Maybe, deep down, we just want to be “rescued” by a publisher in shining armour…….

The further mysteries of author discoverability, Amazon keywords and other stuff

Just updated my keywords.  Again.  I’d tried to be clever, bunching mine together as phrases, then read that you are recommended by KDP to use single words, which maximises chances of readers finding you.  Words that communicate the following:


Setting  - eg, stables
Character – types and roles – eg, single mum, strong female lead
Plot themes – eg, coming of age, forgiveness, redemption
Story tone – eg, feel-good, emotional, dystopian

So I set to work once more, thinking about themes such as loss, guilt, and secrets that pervade my stories.  I also hadn’t realised the need to use the actual word “preteen” in the keywords to get the books listed under the 8-12 category for search purposes. 

I’ve been so busy editing and writing that I’ve not spent a lot of time on marketing and promo.  Or blogging.  Sigh.  So hard to strike a balance.  I have 2 more horse titles I wanted to bring out before the end of September (more likely October now), plus a further title end of November (horse sci-fi!) and, hopefully, a completely new story end Dec/mid Jan. Phew!  I’m enjoying writing again and get excited about all the projects ; I'm in danger of getting severe writers bum, with my limbs stiffening and head buzzing.  Friends are neglected, yoga’s gone out of the window, I forget to eat, and so many things are being put on hold until I achieve these targets.  Maybe not so healthy?

The new Gemma series is selling steadily, so I’m quite pleased with that, and Joyrider is picking up slowly.  I’m so impatient – they’ve only been out a few weeks – but I really do need to devote some serious time to marketing, which I’ve totally neglected. 

There’ll be a sneak preview of the next two covers shortly, and I’m thrilled to be working with a wonderful illustrator who is producing the image for my November release.  (More on this soon).
Now, did I actually drink that mug of coffee I made over an hour ago?  And have I left the porridge in the microwave?






Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Horselovers! Fab new book by Lauren Woodard!

Earlier in the year, I was delighted to publish a guest post from the wonderful Lauren Woodard - horse lover, writer, teacher, trainer and owner of Exceptional Horsemanship
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/exceptional-horsemanship-from-lauren.html 

Lauren's new book is now out and I'm recommending it to horse lovers.  


A witty approach to an issue that every horse owner suffers from-when the horse says, "I ain't goin'!" Not your run of the mill general horsemanship book, Lauren asks that you consider the concepts involved in why these things happen and explore a different leadership and influence concept that will improve your horsemanship exponentially. Fun and funny while learning is second on her list of how-to-do's, first being the horse's respect, justness and safety and whether it results in NICELY moving both the horse's and person's training along. It's as if Lauren is talking specifically to you, and if you asked her, she'd say, "Yes, I am! So, lets get rolling."

Click to buy.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Are you a book snob?

In January I posted a blog piece entitled Literary Fiction V Genre Fiction which stimulated lively discussion in various book groups online, so I suspect it is a topic of interest to many writers and readers. 
There's also an interesting post on literary versus genre fiction over at Jane Friedman: http://janefriedman.com/2013/07/11/writing-on-the-ether-98/

So when I came across this post by Matt Haig at the Booktrust, I wanted to share it. Called 30 things to tell a book snob, this is a contentious subject, judging by all the comments on his blog post. What do you think?


Along the same lines, I have just read the blurb for the University of Kent’s Creative Writing Centre and it made me growl!  For example:

“You won’t write mass-market thrillers or children’s fiction on our programmes.”  
Why not?  What’s wrong with children’s fiction?   Or thrillers?  Are they not worthy of study or creation?   

And,  “We don’t want our students to write inside genre and formula but outside, where real art is found.”  Really?  And a definition of real art? 

Click below to get annoyed. http://www.kent.ac.uk/english/research/centres/creative-writing.html

Rant over........for now......

Related posts: 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

New e-book - Joyrider! FREE for 2 Days!



My NEW e-book Joyrider is FREE to download TODAY and TOMORROW!!

About Joyrider by Jane Ayres

Fourteen year old Linzi has it all. Or so it seems. She's bright, pretty, popular, lives in a glamorous clifftop apartment and has her own perfect horse - a stunning copper chestnut gelding called Ambrose. But appearances can be very deceptive....

On the other side of the sleepy seaside town, teenager Bex lives in a tiny flat with her widowed mum above the café they both run. She's prickly, moody, and a loner, trying to escape from her tragic past. She doesn't want friends - especially not girls like Linzi. 

Linzi suspects her rival, Sheldon, who resents her for beating him to a place in the jumping team, is the mystery joyrider - someone who takes other peoples horses at night and rides them - and she is furious when her beloved Ambrose is targeted. However, afterwards, Ambrose seems different, and Linzi is baffled to discover that his behaviour is much better than before. Can the joyrider have a magic touch? 

She determines to solve the mystery and discover the true identity - and motives - of the joyrider. But in the process she soon finds herself - and Bex - in terrible danger. 

This exciting novella is a fast paced read for children, pre-teens, teenagers and young adults.


Available in all Amazon territories. 

Amazon links:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Joyrider-ebook/dp/B00F7V247Y
http://www.amazon.com/Joyrider-ebook/dp/B00F7V247Y

Monday, 16 September 2013

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Writing projects, cats and unwritten stories

Steve, one of the two adorable feline inspirations for Coming Home

I'm working on several projects right now, one of which is a book trailer for Coming Home.  I love working with a designer and am now adding a composer to the mix.  It is so exciting to see your ideas realised (and refined!) by other creatives.

I also came across a stack of notes for unwritten books that I plan to go through later, to see if there is anything worth developing.  And I definitely plan to write a sequel to Beware of the Horse (thank you so much, wonderful Vikki Thompson from The View Outside, who suggested the idea - you should be a writing mentor, Vikki!).

So I have plenty to be getting on with.......

Related posts: http://www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Coming%20Home

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Saying it Louder


I have 5 copies left of a popular poetry and story collection (now out of print) that I edited called, Saying it Louder;  diverse and exciting poetry and short stories from 61 new writers, which includes my poem "Louder". 

Reader comments include:

“I didn’t think I was into poetry books but this one is very different.”

“This is a highly enjoyable and accessible read…I already have at least 6 favourites.”

 “It looks great, well laid out and I’ve really enjoyed reading it.”

“I was most impressed – and the cover design is really excellent.”

“A breath of fresh air.”

Cost is £5 (retail price was £7.99) and payment is by Paypal.  Postage and packing is £2.60 per book, but will be combined for multiple copies. If you wish to make a purchase, place contact me at workingwords50(at)gmail dot com for information on how to order.  

A great early Xmas present!!!



Thursday, 29 August 2013

FREE pony book for 3 days only!!


I have just launched my Gemma Pony Book series onto Amazon, available for kindle. Although the books were previously published in Scandinavia and Germany, the stories have been updated and this is the first time they have been available in the English language. 

The 4 novella series is a fast paced read for children and teenagers. 

Fun, action-packed and full of drama, the stories will appeal to pony loving teens.
Girls, boyfriends and plenty of ponies!

In the first story of the series, you’ll meet pony-mad teen Gemma Carlton and her feisty new pony Fireworks – along with Gemma’s long suffering boyfriend, Steve, her friends Fizz and Kath and best mate Callie - plus lots of ponies.

They want to raise funds for the new horse rescue centre by organising a Pony Club Dance at the community centre but then a gang of vandals cause trouble, the horses are in danger and Fireworks goes missing – and to make matters worse, Gemma soon suspects her best friend Callie is secretly going out with the gang ring leader!
Will she find Fireworks? Will she lose her friendship with Callie? And after everything that happens, can life ever be the same again?

Other titles in the Gemma series:
Gemma and the Tattooed Horses
Gemma and the Black Colt
Gemma and the Disappearing Showjumpers

For 3 days only, Book 1 of the series, Gemma and the Pony Club Dance, is FREE to download.  


Click links to buy.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ET9VTS0  

Monday, 26 August 2013

Interview with Vikki Thompson for What the Dickens

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Just been interviewed for the excellent What the Dickens by the wonderful Vikki Thompson, who asked some thought provoking questions related to a recent survey about children's reading habits and e-books.  

Here is the link.  

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Sneak preview of covers for Gemma Pony Book Series!


Further to my post about clearing out cupboards and getting on with the 4 kindle books that need formatting, I have been working my little butski off and managed to get 2 of the books done.  Phew!  Two more to go.  As always, I experienced a few hiccups and it is always interesting to see how different the format looks on each kindle reader - working better on the basic kindle and the Paperwhite than the kindle Fire. 

Anyhow, my ambitious plan was to launch all 4 titles in my Gemma Pony Book series for children and teens SIMULTANEOUSLY.  I have a tendency to make things difficult for myself....

So here is a sneak preview of the first draft covers (they have been tweaked since then) from my brilliant designer Klaus Hartleben.  Hopefully I will get the final edits done for Books 3 and 4 before the end of the Bank Holiday weekend.  

And once my cupboards are emptied, I shall no doubt fill them up again fast!

Related post: http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/writing-dreams.html

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Writing Dreams

Recently I’ve been having a recurring dream about clearing out cupboards, in which I have a selection of cupboards full of stuff to sort out and organise.  I think this is about not doing the things I should be doing  - like formatting the 4 books for Kindle which have been on my to-do list for months now.  It’s preying on my mind but life seems to conspire against me so that whenever it seems I will get the time to do it, something happens.  Sigh.  Cupboards and drawers (not the knickers variety!) appear often in my dreams – usually, in the dream, I am about to move house and have left everything until the last minute and realise that I haven’t even made a start on the cupboards and it is the day of the move!  Arrgggh! 

And on the subject of dreams, I realise that I have, finally and by default (redundancy) realised my childhood ambition  – I am now, officially, a full time writer.  It’s taken nearly 40 years and I think I’m so busy trying to keep on top of everything that I haven’t actually celebrated. 

So if you always wanted to be a full time writer, don’t be discouraged if it hasn’t happened yet.  Because, one day, it will. However long it takes.