Monday, 28 December 2015

Trick Riding

Trick Riders


It's that time of the year, when I look back, reflect and then look forward.  In January 2015 I was hopeful - I was a full time writer, and had struggled to make a freelance living for the previous year or so.  (see http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/im-dreaming-of.html.)  By February, I was getting disillusioned, with the VAT changes and Amazon moving the goalposts for authors (again!), making it harder than ever to make a living. So I vowed to write just 3 more pony books to self publish by the end of 2015.  http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/the-last-pony-books.html

Did I achieve this?  Well, no unless I can write said books within the next 4 days.  So what have I done?  Not much blogging or book marketing.  I've been trying, voluntarily, to fundraise for a big arts project, and put on 2 concerts this year, which was a real learning curve and very tough but worthwhile. What else? I completed my MSc Science Communication and Society, with Merit.  I do love learning new things.  I eventually got another part time job to pay the bills. My 2 short novels, Trick Riders 1 and 2, set in the world of equestrian vaulting, have appeared in print in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and I thoroughly enjoyed researching the topic. I've had fun writing some short stories for Pony magazine, and recently finished a children's novel, Pony on the Trail, which had me researching Western riding and skateboarding, which was also fun. It will be published in summer 2016, in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Maybe I will get to try Western riding in 2016.

So I suppose 2015 has been mostly about learning.  Lots of learning.  Not succeeding in the goals I set myself but achieving other things instead.  And, to my surprise, after becoming disillusioned with my self publishing adventures, I now have a hunger to write those final pony books!  Roll on 2016....


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Spectacular horse tale!


Delighted that Nayu's Reading Corner has described Joyrider as an "Absolutely spectacular horse tale!" and rated it 10E/10E - the highest rating possible!  Thank you, Nayu!  So glad you enjoyed reading it.  Inspired in part by the time I lived by the sea, the story holds a special place in my heart.

http://nayusreadingcorner.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/what-are-you-reading-290.html


Related post: http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/horse-in-my-heart-rated-epic-read.html
Buy link for Joyrider http://www.amazon.co.uk/Joyrider-ebook/dp/B00F7V247Y
 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Horse in my Heart rated epic read!

I was really thrilled to find that the brilliant Nayu's Reading Corner has rated my emotional drama The Horse in my Heart 10E.



The Horse in My Heart by Jane Ayres
Young Adult
10E/10E
(Tissues most definitely needed!)

Nayu explains on her site:

Reviews are rated out of 10, 1 being the lowest and 10E being the highest. The E part = epic read, higher than a standard 10, for books I hug (really!) & want everyone to read

I can't begin to describe how wonderful it feels for an author to know that someone enjoyed their work so much - truly grateful! Thank you, Nayu!

STOP PRESS: Nayu also rated Coming Home a 10E:
(A heartbreaking read about two well loved cats who get separated from their owner and each other...)



More info: http://nayusreadingcorner.blogspot.co.uk

Related posts: http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Horse%20in%20my%20Heart

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Japanese wisdom for writers

A while back, I came across an article in a writing magazine that quoted a Japanese saying about the power of quietly repeating the same activity. 

継続は力なり
Continuance is strength

It got me thinking about how daunting many tasks and projects can seem,  to the extent that we can become so overwhelmed we don't actually start, or give up halfway through.  I've been working on some really big, ambitious projects over the past few years - mostly non-writing related - and this saying really hit home.  Of course, as the author of the article, Robert Paul Weston, points out, feeling overwhelmed can be especially  relevant for writers embarking on a novel.  
"Typing that last sentence can feel so far away, you may as well be trying to scratch it out in the sands of Mars. As such, dwelling on that ultimate goal can become an intolerable distraction, perhaps intolerable enough for you to give up. If you believe in this old saying, however, the only thing to do is forget that the end even exists. Just keep going."
A profound insight, and one that we should apply to life itself. 


Article: Japanese Wisdom for Writers by Robert Paul Weston in Writing in Education, issue 65, Spring 2015
http://www.nawe.co.uk/DB/wie-editions/articles/japanese-wisdom-for-writers.html
http://www.nawe.co.uk/DB/wie-editions/editions/nawe-conference-collection-2014.html

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Horsey paperbacks!


For readers who prefer the feel of paper rather than reading a digital screen like a kindle or ipad, you can now buy 5 of my pony novels in print versions!  These are Beware of the Horse, The Perfect Horse, Valentine Horse, The Horse in my Heart and Joyrider.  All at just £4.99.  Perhaps it's too early to be thinking about Christmas (!) but these would make great stocking fillers for pony mad teens and nostalgic older horsey lovers!  Just saying.....(end of sales pitch!)

Buy links:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Horse-my-Heart-Jane-Ayres/dp/1505773881
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Valentine-Horse-Jane-Ayres/dp/1505774349
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Joyrider-Jane-Ayres/dp/1505773512
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Horse-Jane-Ayres/dp/1505774594
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1505427495

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Pony magazine: two part story by Jane Ayres in August issue


I'm delighted that I have another two-part story in the wonderful Pony magazine. Amongst the excellent features, articles and gorgeous photos, you will find Katie's Promise, Part 1, in the August issue.  It's about teenager Katie who gets the chance to take care of a stunning Welsh Cob called Parsifal - the snag is, Katie doesn't think she likes horses...(I know, hard to imagine!).  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Related posts:
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/the-horse-on-balcony-out-now-plus.html
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/pony-books-in-print.html

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

"A must for cat lovers."

I can hardly believe it is now more than 18 months since I made a book trailer (my only one so far) for my cat charity book Coming Homehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aweX0y3lvL4&feature=youtu.be


I wrote a blog post about it which has received nearly 500 views, so hopefully it has proved useful for other writers!  Anyway, I've had lovely feedback on the trailer, which is a bit of a tearjerker!  I hope you enjoy it and feel inspired to take a look at the book - all my royalties are donated to charity Cats Protection.

From the many Amazon 5 star reviews:

"Wonderful story"

"A must for cat lovers"

"Couldn't put the book down. Make sure you have time to read it right through before you pick it up. A lovely story."

"A touching tale for all ages" 

"This book is a very good read for cat lovers of any age. I downloaded it today and could not stop reading it until I reached the end.."

Buy book link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Coming-Home-ebook/dp/B00AGZV9WM/ and http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Home-journey-special-cats-ebook/dp/B00AGZV9WM and also in all Amazon territories.

Related post: http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/making-book-trailer-20-steps-i-took.html


Saturday, 2 May 2015

Saturday School for writers on 16 May: self publishing your e-book on Amazon

On Saturday 16 May I'm running a day school in Canterbury from 10am - 4pm called Self Publishing your e-book on Amazon: The Business of Writing.  This is the most popular of my day schools for Canterbury Christ Church University and guides you through the process step by step, dealing with issues such as formatting, pricing, cover design, author pages and book blurb. Whether you want to publish for personal satisfaction or to earn income, this is a chance to find out what is involved so you can do it yourself. 

Cost is just £29.50 and you can book via the link below.
https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/cae/day-schools/spring-2015/the-business-of-writing-2.aspx

What previous students have said about my day schools:

“Jane is very knowledgeable and has a wealth of experience.”
“Fabulously engaging tutor, enthusiastic about her subject, spoke with passion and authority.”
“It was more than I imagined.  Very informative and interesting.”
“Knowledgeable about the topic.  Excellent to listen to. Inspiring.”
“Obvious sound knowledge base and good clear delivery.”
“Useful hand-outs with links that can provide even more information after the course.”
“Inspiring and informative.  Lots of ideas to work with now!”
 “Jane is clearly very experienced.  She has a good relaxed style and is very enthusiastic.”
“Very useful and clearly put across.”
“Excellent content.  Covered more than I expected.”
“Very clear information.  Very generous with the information. Helpful.”
“Very good at answering questions, very clear targets and direction, well prepared.” 
"Jane was honest and enthusiastic. Course was well thought out."
"An energised tutor who inspired me."
 “It was excellent – very informative, well organised, encouraged questions. Engaging.”


Friday, 20 March 2015

CUT - a new opportunity for short story writers!

If you love reading and/or writing short stories, then check out this new resource for readers and writers
http://www.cutalongstory.com/

It is described as "a writer’s e-publishing community platform, where professional and semi-professional writers can freely get their work digitally published and marketed to a global reader audience, giving writers a ‘voice’ to their readers. This enables writers to spend time on their creative output, in the certain knowledge that they can simply upload their work and CUT will do the rest: create a beautiful e-book and market it to a global reader audience....CUT has a simple model which gives writers a fair deal, where each writer receives 50% of the sale proceeds, after deducting minimal transaction costs."
 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Saturday 21 March Day School :How writers can stay visible

On Saturday 21 March I'm running a day school in Canterbury from 10am -4pm called The Business of Writing 2: Now you see me - how writers can stay visible .  This may be of special interest to indie and self published writers.

With more opportunities than ever before for writers to get their work out to a public readership, how do you stay visible? Is an author also a brand? And what does this mean for a writer? How do you promote yourself?

We will explore ways writers can stay visible, including author websites, book trailers, blogging and blog carnivals, social networking, book signings and launches, readings, interviews, visits, getting reviews, and ways to showcase your work. What is most effective?

We will also look at creating a personal promotion plan.
Cost is just £29.50 and you can book via the link below.
https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/cae/day-schools/spring-2015/the-business-of-writing-2.aspx

What previous students have said about my day schools:

“Jane is very knowledgeable and has a wealth of experience.”
“Fabulously engaging tutor, enthusiastic about her subject, spoke with passion and authority.”
“It was more than I imagined.  Very informative and interesting.”
“Knowledgeable about the topic.  Excellent to listen to. Inspiring.”
“Obvious sound knowledge base and good clear delivery.”
“Useful hand-outs with links that can provide even more information after the course.”
“Inspiring and informative.  Lots of ideas to work with now!”
 “Jane is clearly very experienced.  She has a good relaxed style and is very enthusiastic.”
“Very useful and clearly put across.”
“Excellent content.  Covered more than I expected.”
“Very clear information.  Very generous with the information. Helpful.”
“Very good at answering questions, very clear targets and direction, well prepared.”
 “It was excellent – very informative, well organised, encouraged questions. Engaging.”



Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Crowdfunding and where I've been


I've been absent from the blogosphere recently for a variety of reasons.  I tend to take on too many projects and then struggle to juggle everything BUT it's a great way to keep learning lots of new things and expand my horizons.  My current focus is fundraising for an arts project, on a voluntary basis. 

As a result, I set up and ran my first crowdfunder for the Mirabai Project, a not for profit group of musicians, performers and composers, for an innovative show in Kent with Argentine tango dancers.  I invested a lot of time and energy into it, but just over a week before the crowdfunder ended, the crowdfunding platform went bust.  Disaster!  After upset, anger and despondency, I eventually got myself together and decided to try again with a different platform, IdeasTap.  The link is here - do check it out - you will get to see a beautiful tango for harp and dancers on the video, and any contribution is very welcome.  Do share the link if you enjoy the music. 

Thanks!

http://www.ideastap.com/crowdfunding/project/the-mirabai-project-presents-chrysanthemums

Friday, 13 February 2015

A romantic read for horse lovers on Valentine's Day!

Valentine Horse - now available in print!

Sixteen year old Lara’s world is turned upside down after a riding accident on her lively new horse Skylark, a surprise gift for Valentine’s Day. Recovering in hospital, she meets the enigmatic Ant, an unconventional sculptor. Lara is instantly attracted but her parents don’t approve of the relationship – especially as Ant is older than Lara. As her feelings grow for Ant, Lara questions her relationship with her lifelong best friend, and brilliant rider, Ryan. Struggling with her emotions, she also has to regain her confidence to ride the flighty and difficult Skylark, who is the catalyst for everything that happens to Lara after he enters her life on Valentine's Day....

Torn between Ant and Ryan, and battling with increasing confrontations with her parents, Lara makes the gut-wrenching discovery that her beloved first pony, Spook, may not have gone to the good home she believed. Is it too late to save Spook? And when faced with a terrible choice, how will Lara find the courage to follow her heart?

A heart-warming read for romantic horse lovers.


Buy links: ebook
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Valentine-Horse-Jane-Ayres-ebook/dp/B00IEOF8LU

http://www.amazon.com/Valentine-Horse-Jane-Ayres-ebook/dp/B00IEOF8LU

Print edition £4.99
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Valentine-Horse-Jane-Ayres/dp/1505774349

Monday, 9 February 2015

The last pony books

In May last year, I wrote about what it felt like to be a full-time writer, and it was pretty scary.
In July last year I wrote about my plans - past and future - and what I had managed to achieve.

I worked super hard over December and brought out 5 of my existing titles in print, using Createspace, after being persuaded by some logical arguments that for the children's book market, I needed to offer print editions.  I learned lots in the process, but sales are very low indeed and the ebooks continue to sell better. So I'm unlikely to bring any more out in print unless this situation changes.

I also published two more of my backlist titles which I thought would do well. At the time they were published originally, I was told it was some of my best work, but when I came to update and edit, I realised my writing wasn't nearly as good as I had thought. I spent a week rewriting each one - just focussing on the actual writing craft.  I'm pleased with the results.

However, I'm disappointed overall by book sales.  It's a hugely competitive market, and, if I'm honest, I'm really tired right now with the whole marketing and promo circus.  Lots of other stuff has happened to make me feel cynical, and I realise it's time to make some tough decisions.

I've been a published pony book author for nearly 39 years, and some of my past traditionally published titles, many years ago,  were even bestsellers.  I have 3 more original pony books I want to write which I plan to self publish before the end of 2015.   And that's it.

So maybe it's time for a change, or a rest, or both.

Related posts:
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/reflections-on-being-full-time-writer.html
http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/publishing-planning-and-procrastination.html

Saturday, 7 February 2015

A Place to Write

I've been meaning to write another reflective post for ages now, but things keep happening and I change what I intend to say and keep changing my mind.  But here it is.

Last year I experimented with places to write because I found it hard to concentrate and really focus on what I wanted to achieve.  Writing from home wasn't working, as I was too easily distracted and if the phone rang or something needed doing, I stopped writing.  So getting out of the house seemed to make sense.  Many writers go outside to write, like a coffee shop, a co-working space, even renting an office.  I had to find what worked for me.

So I tried taking my lappie to a local hotel and setting up in the lobby by a mains point (my laptop battery gave up a long while back!).  The first time I tried this, I managed 4000 words in a morning session and I was chuffed, promising myself to do this at least 3 times a week.

Two months later (!) I achieved it again, and over a fortnight, I completed a lot of rewriting and new work at the hotel, in 4 hour stretches.  Afterwards, I had a numb behind but it was great to work without distractions, as I found I could switch off from what was going on around me in this environment.

I also tried taking the fold up table in the bedroom and setting up there, and this worked quite well too.

BUT sitting at a computer screen for long stretches hasn't done my body much good - back ache, headaches, stiffness are all end products.  So my next experiment will be trying to change my lifelong habit of hours at a time of writing to taking a break every half hour or so for a 10 minute walk.  Or even trying writing for an hour a day.

Not managed it so far.....

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


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

THE HORSE ON THE BALCONY - out now!!! PLUS sequel DARK HORSES

I've just brought out TWO NEW titles for horse lovers - with a spooky twist!

The first is an unusual and moving story called THE HORSE ON THE BALCONY

 

Jenni is grieving from a loss that rips her world apart.
Holly is wracked with guilt after an accident she feels is her fault.

A chance encounter at a railway station brings the girls together and they share their tragic secrets. When Holly reveals she keeps seeing a mysterious palomino on an apartment balcony, which Jenni has dreamed is in danger, they decide to find him. In the process, they discover that sometimes, hope - and danger - is found in the most unexpected places…



 The sequel, a thrilling, spooky read is DARK HORSES


When teenager Jenni takes on a pair of stunning rescue thoroughbreds, she soon discovers that Firebrand and Lazer are not as perfect as they seem. Her friends Ella and Holly are suspicious but Jenni won't hear a word against her new horses.

After Ella is injured in a fall, Holly decides to investigate their past and a mysterious diary reveals a tragic tale of jealousy and revenge. Firebrand and Lazer hold the key to a dark and terrible secret that puts everyone in danger.......


AVAILABLE IN ALL AMAZON TERRITORIES.
BUY LINKS
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Horse-Balcony-Horses-Secrets-Book-ebook/dp/B00SV4R1R2 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Horses-Secrets-Book-ebook/dp/B00SV3J7H0

Saturday, 10 January 2015