Echoes of Aether – Cover Reveal

Well, here it is, the wonderful cover for Echoes of Aether. Love that the wonderful guys at Deranged Doctor Designs have done, this is such a stunning design:

2017-1185 Gail Williams B02

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The Short, The Heard and The Words

I swear it was only May last time I looked, now it’s July, so come on, who stole June?

Through May I was manic with events: Llandeilo, Newcastle and Crimefest, but June has just disappeared.

June was supposed to be a rest and relax month, which it has and hasn’t been. I was away from home for two weeks of the month.  The first week I was away, we were off in our new campervan – which was fabulous! Can’t wait to do more of that.

We were in West Wales, so internet was patchy and we were so busy doing stuff I didn’t have much time for writing.  I did some, but a holiday is supposed to be a holiday from all the usual things. Though I have to say, some of the visits were to places that will be appearing in my next novel. Came back from that feeling human again.  The second week was actually me going away on my own for a training course – day-job related.  It was intense and valuable and was been the kick in the pants I needed to get my head on straight for the day-job again.

But somehow within all of that I have managed to;

  • write a ‘short’ story – max word count of 8K, mine is 11K, so some editing to do there;
  • get invited to write an audio play – that’s still at the earliest stages so I’ll keep the rest to myself for a minute – it’s a 2019 project so you’ll hear more then;
  • start my latest crime novel;
  • do some polishing on an existing novel;
  • finish the edit on my second steampunk book, Echoes of Aether.

I’m quite happy about that.

Echoes of Aether is the next adventure in the life of Miss Amethyst Forester as she navigates the fortunes and misfortunes of Victorian London high society and the perils of politics which would destabilise that world as she’s coming to know it.

I’ll reveal the amazing cover art from Deranged Doctor Designs on July 12th.

cover reveal 01

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I am a Sick Bunny

CrimeFest

Yes – it’s official I am a “Sick Bunny”, will explain later.

I spent last weekend (17 – 20 May 2018) at Crimefest, had a great time, as ever. Caught up with lots of old friends, made some new ones.  Listening to the panels, I’ve picked up some great tips for future novels – and the current work in progress.

I’ve attended a few Crimefests now and never managed to get on the Forensics Excursion, but this year a note went out last minute to say that two tickets had come available, and I was lucky enough to be one of those that snagged one.  It was brilliant.  A great way to look at ‘crime scenes’ and see how they worked. At last now, I understand the priority order how things are numbered for photographs etc. at crime scenes.  Makes so much sense now (the lower the number the more vulnerable the evidence). Will definitely be using what I learned, and it was well worth giving up a lie in to leave the house at 0630 in order to be sure to be there.

Thoroughly enjoyed loads of panels. Would pick out a couple, The “Debut Authors” on Friday with Emily Elgar, Caroline England, Chris McGeorge, Elizabeth Mundy, Robert Scragg.  Meet Robert at Newcastle Noir and he’s one to watch.  Another highlight was the “Bloody Scotland” panel; Lesley Kelly, Douglas Lindsay, Caro Ramsey and Tana Collins, who I’ve blogged about before. My last of the weekend sent me out on a high, that was the “Give Me A Break” panel on Sunday – will be reading books from Oliver Bottini and Alis Hawkins.

It was also lovely to see so many members of Crime Cymru, at the event, and many of them on panels (including Cathy Ace, Rosie Claverton, Alis Hawkins)

Well as you may well know, there’s always Gala Dinner at Crimefest, and I attended this year. The organisers do give delegates the chance to say who they would like to sit with, but this year I decided to take the role of the dice and ask nothing, just see where I got placed.  I was fortunate because I ended up on a table with Kat Hall, Sarah Ward, Oliver Bottini (German Author recently translated into English), Katharina Bielenberg of Maclehose Press.  Even though there was a lot of German spoken (of which my limit is about sprichst du Englisch?), but these were lovely, interesting and inclusive people, I had a great evening.

So why am I a sick bunny?

One of the other people at the table was David Hicks, of The Book Trade Charity.  I’d met David in London in March and we’d spoken, and I’ve given him a copy of my short story collection Last Cast Casebook. I never really expected to hear from his again, let alone bump into him, but I did and he told me that he’d read the collection, and I am a sick bunny. I think that means he enjoyed it, even if some of the stories made for uncomfortable reading – and that means I did my job right.  Woohoo!

So, there you go.  Crimefest was fantastic and I am confirmed a sick bunny.

 

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Newcastle Noir 2018

20180503_203849Phew! Am finally recovered, this blog will give you some idea of why.

Well, last weekend was Newcastle Noir 2018, and it was fabulous!  It’s a long old drive up from South Wales to Newcastle, but after a trip to the dentist for me, we set off at lunchtime and only took seven and a half hours to get there.  Was rather pooped by the time we did.

We had a wander around the city that evening – after that long in a car we needed to stretch our legs, and while I’d made sure we weren’t staying too far from the venue, I wasn’t really ready for the number of steps up from the Quayside to the Lit and Phil of the venue (where I took the picture above).  Am going to need to get in shape for next year!

I have to say I didn’t know what to expect from Newcastle, because I’ve never been there before, but I wasn’t expecting the incredible grandeur of what I think is a lot of Georgian/early Victorian architecture. If you like great old buildings (and I do) this is the place for you. Then there’s the ironwork and bridges to consider – it’s kind of odd stepping out of a hotel and being confronted with the massive engineering of the bottom of the curve supporting the Tyne Bridge. Looking up and seeing how the rail and road bridges were civil engineering over the top of multi-storied buildings was really something.

Thankfully the hotel has sent a warning about the kittiwakes, though in fairness, they didn’t disturb our rest.

The events Newcastle Noir were fabulous, the work that Dr Noir and her wonderful team of helpers put in is just astronomic.  They did a cracking job and it was wonderful to meet such charming and committed people who clearly take great pleasure and pride in what they do.

Then there are the events themselves, the panels and discussions.  Newcastle Noir offers such a range of writers, from the established and famous (Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Macbride, Val McDermid), down to the absolute New Bloods (Sandra Ireland, Vicky Newham, Robert Scragg, GB Williams – yes me!).  There were representatives from all over as well, there was Northumberland Noir, Tartan Noir, Nordic Noir, Masala Noir, and Crime in translation, which included Lilja Sigurðardóttir – and embarrassing as it is to admit it, no, I can’t pronounce her surname. So many interesting things to listen to, everyone with a different opinion and all opinions welcome.

Thoroughly enjoyed my panel, another engaged audience, which is always fun, and a good selection of panel companions. Lively answers and different experiences discussed, it was fab.  Audience participation was great – questions that you don’t expect can throw you for six, but I was surprised that I wasn’t thrown. A couple of weeks ago I was saying to a friend of mine (another writer) that I was a bit nervous about doing the panels, but after Llandeilo and now Newcastle – not a worry at all.  I loved it in fact. Now I hate doing presentations in work, generally because I’m never that sure of myself, but when it comes to writing, it’s something so ingrained into who I am, that I don’t have to worry, it’s all just there, the answers don’t have to be dug for, because I just know them. That probably sounds a bit arrogant, and I don’t mean to be, but when you’re talking about something that you’re passionate about, it really does just flow.

What was lovely was also the comments I got from audience members after who came to get their books signed. Every comment was complimentary, and I even had one of my fellow panellists come up after and tell me that a friend of theirs in the audience had said I was the nicest of the rest the of the bunch! That’s so sweet – and probably unfounded, but a lovely thing to hear all the same.

Anyway, it was a great weekend, I’m definitely going back for more next year (if I’m on a panel or not), and I can totally recommend the even to anyone who enjoys crime fiction.

Oh, one last shout out. Forum Books – what wonderful people and thanks for selling books from independent authors who turn up with them on the day – thank you so much.

Great weekend, long drive back, lots had to be done today, hence the last posting, but boy was it a great break from the norm.  Thanks to everyone who contributed to such a marvellous experience.

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Psychopaths Panel

Llandeilo LitFest 2018Should start by stating that the panel was about Psychopaths in Literature, not a panel of psychopaths.  Though…

Tonight I am back from a weekend of Llandeilo Litfest – it was a blast!  My first ever experience of being on a panel and I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great hour.

The panel was led by Thorne Moore, writer of psychological crime novels, many of which are based here in Wales.  She did a great job of asking pertinent questions that set the rest of us off into interesting discussions.

My fellow panellists were John Nicholl and John Thompson. Now John N is an ex-police officer, and John T is a barrister, which left me feeling a little out of place – I’ve never worked in any of the law enforcement or legal occupations.  I’m an office bod who specialises in system design (Excel and Access mostly), so least qualified there.

What I enjoyed was that the three of us didn’t always agree which makes for lively conversation, all good-natured.  It was also lovely to get some really good audience participation going with an open floor and some back and forth.

To find more about these lovely people try:

 

It was also great to see some old friends and make new ones.  People that I’ve connected to on the internet, I finally got to meet in real life. New people that I met for the first time too.  All the writers were lovely people and everyone willing to lend a hand at all points, writers are just about the most supportive group of people I have ever met. Then there were people who I know through Swansea and District Writers’ Circle, lovely to see everyone again.  Had some great chats at the Book Fair and managed to sell a few volumes too.

Thanks to all who made it a great weekend.

 

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The Day I Outsold Agatha Christie

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Never thought I’d be able to say that, but I can.  GB Williams outsold Agatha Christie. More copies of “Locked Up” sold than did “Ordeal by Innocence” by Agatha Christie.

And I can now say I’m an Amazon #1 bestseller.

Wow saying that feels good too!

Okay, so I only outsold her for one day in a niche market, but it’s a great thing to be able to say. The fact that it happened when I started the day feeling down and utterly useless, only makes it sweeter.

And I have another review since that day, another 5-star review that says:

“I found the author really brought prison life, er, to life, and without stumbling into any horribly hackneyed prison cliches. Certain characters could have easily drifted into stereotype or caricature, but GB manages to just twist her characters that little bit out of the ordinary.

“I admired Ariadne (the epitome of a fish out of water; a woman PO in a prison full of hormonal and deprived men), found her obvious internal conflicts fascinating to watch develop. And a little bit of me wished I actually was Charlie. Same feeling I get when I read Lee Child’s Reacher books – “why can’t I be more like him?” etc. If that’s not escapism, I don’t know what is.”

On the same day I was also the number 2 best seller on the US site – does the happy dance – another thing not to be sniffed at.

So, if you brought “Locked Up” already – THANK YOU!!!

And, if you want to see why Charlie can be compared to Reacher – why not go get your copy?  And if you do – please review, it makes a huge difference to a writer to know what their readers really think of their work.

Thank you!

Please review

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Back to Blogging

DSCN2085I’ve not been so hot on the blogs of late, I know. Sorry.

I do have good writer-y reasons for it though.

In the middle of January, I finished this first draft of “Locked Down”, the third and final book of the Locked Trilogy crime novels. I say first draft, it did get a read through and stuff, then went to the editor and I got it to the publisher in March (I think – it’s all a bit of a blur at the mo). I actually think that “Locked Down” is the best one, but only time will tell. No sense on a publication date for this one yet.

From February first to last Wednesday (18th April) I was writing and agonising over “Echoes of Aether” the second of the Of Aether steampunk series. That self-edited draft is now with my editor and God knows what he’s going to think of it. Keep your fingers crossed for me that it doesn’t need a major re-write, because I want this one to take to Asylum in August.

I’ve also been in negotiation over a number of short stories this year. There’s a Cthulhu short that gets published in May, there’s a question over rights to another previously published short that still needs to be resolved, and the synopsis for a 6-8k steampunk short that I sent in yesterday has been accepted and now I need to write that too.

There’s also the marketing to think about. Whether traditionally or self-published, it’s still up to the writer to promote both themselves and their work.

Now, I have to admit I am totally rubbish at this angle. I really struggle with it. This is one of those areas were being someone who lives with depression makes for real trouble. My self-view is almost entirely negative, and when you put yourself out there, the one guarantee is that someone won’t like you/your work and they will try to shoot you down. I’ve had that, and it’s hard to deal with. It also makes getting back up there to promote again extremely difficult. The thing is, writing is what I want to do. I want to sell books and get noticed (for the books – not me! My characters are much more interesting than I am). So, I have to do the promotional pieces like post stuff on social networking. I have to talk myself up, and that is something that I find excruciatingly difficult. I know that that difficulty is also what puts people off; real double-edged sword that one. People think that I don’t want to talk to them, but don’t realise that that’s because I’m scared; it’s me that’s failing, not them. I don’t mean to seem standoffish, I just don’t know how to stand up or step in. I’m a wall flower because I don’t know how to be the live and soul. Sorry.

So, you see, I’ve been a very busy bunny working hard, and this is going to be my last quiet weekend for a while. We’re getting into convention season and I’ve got a couple of personal appearances to do.

Next weekend I’ll be in Llandeilo LitFest, a fab literary festival that takes over a lot of Llandeilo town centre. There are talks and discussions, readings, a book fair. I’ll be at the book fair both days to sell and I’m on the Psychopaths in Literature panel at 11:30 on Saturday with John Nicoll and John Thompson, Thorne Moore moderating. Really looking forward to my first appearance as a writer.

The weekend after it’s up to Newcastle Noir for me. On Saturday May 5th I’m part of the New Blood panel from 11 to 12. It’s me, Sandra Ireland, Vicky Newham, Robert Scragg with Vic Watson moderating.

Next thing you know it’ll be Crimefest, The Asylum, Blood Scotland and BristolCon. The year is just packed.

 

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