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Life Cycle of a Writer ~ Photo-diary ~ First year as a published author.

#BookReview: As Weekends Go by Jan Brigden

Thrilled to bits with this latest review of As Weekends Go, thanks to Christina Philippou 🙂

Christina Philippou

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Genre: Romantic fiction

Stars: 4

Links: Amazon UK and Amazon.com

The Blurb:

What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?

When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her.

She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more …

But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it?

My Review:

A lovely…

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Spotlight on Guest Author Jan Brigden

Thrilled to feature as a guest today on Morton Gray’s blog 🙂

Morton S. Gray - Author

This week, Jan Brigden is joining me on my blog. She is another fellow Choc Lit author.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Jan Brigden

Jan lives in South London with her husband & motley crew of cuddly toys.

After attending many author talks, literary events, connecting with writers and readers on Facebook and Twitter, Jan learned of and subsequently joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme.

She proudly signed with Choc Lit after winning the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition 2014/2015 with her debut novel As Weekends Go.

An avid reader and all round book devotee, Jan is also one eighth of the on-line writing group The Romaniacs (www.theromaniacs.co.uk) who in November 2015 received the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Industry Media Star award.

I asked Jan some questions :-

When do you write?

I’m home-based so able to chop and change the hours I write around my…

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What a month that was!

October? Really? Not that I’m complaining, I love October, but I’m still grinning about what September blessed me with.

In a nutshell:

The paperback release of my debut As Weekends Go, a special moment, not to mention emotional. Tears flowed, as did the laughter, cake and fizz and I was overwhelmed by all the lovely messages I received. I even got a congratulatory retweet from Crystal Palace FC 🙂

Here’s a gorgeous banner my lovely publisher Choc Lit created for me.

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And a second banner by my good friend Laura James along with the fab publication day blog post she and my other fellow Romaniacs  composed for me here: The Romaniacs Blog

 

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Another hugely proud moment was when I learned my novel was being featured on Lovereading UK  as one of its debuts of the month. A Weekly Staff pick too. Double delight!

 

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Cue more fizz & chocolate (naturally!) and the added bonus of sunshine …

 

 

The support and good cheer I received throughout the month from all my writing buddies at Choc Lit and beyond, especially from my fellow Romaniacs, plus lovely readers and bloggers was brilliant.

Here are some guest posts, promo posts and Q&A features I took part in during September – thank you dear bloggers!

Choc Lit Blog ~ Memorable weekends of mine.

Jera’s Jamboree ~ Q&A

Jo Lambert ~ Launch Day promo post.

Linda Hill ~ Guest post on the importance of doing your research.

Whispering Stories ~ Q&A

Being Anne  ~ Guest post on stereotyping & my fictional footballer (plus Anne’s wonderful review of As Weekends Go).

Towards the end of the month I attended an author/blogger meet up in London which gave me a great chance to say hello to faces both new and familiar. A good time was had by all, with much writerly chat and laughter. We were also blessed with glorious sunshine again and a fabulous view of the Regent’s Canal.

All in all,  a month to remember.

Bring on October! 😀

 

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Love Jan  x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doing Your Research, A Guest Post by Jan Brigden, Author of As Weekends Go

So pleased to feature on Linda Hill’s blog, chatting about the fun and so important research I did for As Weekends Go 🙂

Linda's Book Bag

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I’m delighted to be welcoming back lovely Jan Brigden, author of As Weekends Go to Linda’s Book Bag. I have previously interviewed Jan and you can read that interview hereAs Weekends Go was published by Choc Lit on 4th December 2015. As Weekends Go is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US and by following the publisher links here.

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As an aspiring romantic writer myself, I’m delighted that Jan has agreed to write a guest post all about her research process today.

As Weekends Go

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What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?

When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something…

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HONNNNKKKKKKK!

The lovely post my Romaniac buddies did for me on paperback publication day …

The Romaniacs

HONNNKKKK!!!

The fireworks are being lit, the cake is coming out of the oven and the glasses are overflowing with pop as The Romaniacs celebrate the paperback release of our lovely Jan Brigden’s As Weekends Go.

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Laura: Many congratulations, Jan. What an exciting day! Your first paperback. And isn’t it gorgeous? I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a signed copy. I am thrilled for you. So well deserved, my lovely, hardworking friend xxx

Catherine: Congratulations, Jan! The honkometer cannot withstand such excitement! This level of celebration may be enough to put it into early retirement! Enjoy the day and we’ve stocked up on additional cake to mark the occasion! Xxx

Vanessa: HUGE congratulations, lovely Jan. I hope your day is filled with cake and champagne – I can’t wait to add the wonderful As Weekends Go to my Romaniac shelf!

Sue: Honkity-honk-honk-honk! Congratulations, Jan on the release of…

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Three weeks on and still beaming with gratitude …

Well, what a three weeks I’ve had.

I’d have blogged about it sooner if the dreaded lurgy hadn’t paid me a visit. And outstayed its welcome, I might add.

More of that later though …

On a much more positive note, three weeks ago – Easter Sunday to be precise – my debut novel As Weekends Go was selected for Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deal which meant that it was 99p to download for that day only. Mr B and I were at a family gathering at my parents for most of the day, and between all the laughter, chatter, games and chocolate-scoffing, we were keeping our beady eyes on its progress. I can’t tell you how excited and grateful I was to see it rise up the charts to a heady number 199.

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Before I knew it, the Prosecco was cracked open and flowing. It was great to all celebrate together.

I then received a text from one of my writing buddies telling me that the book was number 1 on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list.

WHAAT?! 

Cue manic whooping and refilling of glasses. (Any old excuse!) 😉

It actually peaked at number 74 the following day.

74!

 

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I could hardly speak! 😀

All in all it was an Easter to remember.

As if my beam wasn’t wide enough, I subsequently received the wonderful news from my publisher Choc Lit that my book was also being released in paperback in September and was on pre-order.

Double WHAAAAT!!!??

I shed more than a few tears of joy at the thought of actually holding my book in my hands. The massive grin was now threatening to engulf my face completely.

Merry Christmas

Well, that’s when the pesky lurgy crept up on me.

Cheeeeeeeeeeeek of it – interrupting my joyous flow!

I’d been smugly saying how I never get colds/coughs, etc, and then, BAM, I’m exchanging Prosecco for hot honey & lemon drinks.

Talk about thwart the festivities …

Of course, I made up for it once the sore throat had subsided. Mr B also brought me in a few treats in the meantime to aid my recovery, sweetheart that he is. 😉

 

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I couldn’t believe how rough I felt or how long it has lasted. I’m still coughing now.

But … I feel miles better than I did and even though it may have dented my glow, my grin of gratitude for how my book is doing and for the lovely feedback, reviews and priceless words of advice and support I’ve received and would never take for granted, shines large.

Cheers, everyone!

Love Jan X

 

 

 

York, Leeds and a shedload of research all in one day …

I love York with a passion, so much so that I set a large part of my debut novel there. I’d visited enough times to feel confident about writing certain scenes but wanted to return to check what was new and to suss out the one or two places I’d yet to explore;  one such gem being Rowntree Park (pictured below).

 

Well , get this …

I’d been keeping my beady eye out for cheap day return train tickets (didn’t really want to have to pay the usual £70-100 from London King’s Cross) when I only went and received an email from Virgin Trains East Coast advertising promo tickets – if you travelled on certain trains between certain dates – for … wait for it … £5.00 per person each way.

Well timed or what?

No way was I NOT taking advantage of that.

Mr B had said he’d come with me and I had this theory that whilst we were there we could also dash off to Leeds as I knew I’d need to do a fair amount of research there (among other places) for Book 2. It seemed silly to be so near and to not go there.

“Be a bit tight for time!” pipes up Mr B (bearing in mind we’d be getting up at 5am, racing up to King’s Cross to catch the  7.08, have a two and a half hour journey to York with a pretty packed  agenda to fulfil once there and then have to make the 6pm train back to London or risk paying the full fare if we missed it).

Hmmm … let me just see if it’s do’able, thinks me, logging onto the National Rail website with no idea of further train costs or timings to Leeds.

Were my eyes deceiving me? £6.00 return from York per person if I booked in advance (in my case, the day before we were travelling!).  Again, we had to get specified trains, but for that price, I was THERE!

RESULT!

I mean, £16.00 per person for our day’s travel overall is brilliant, isn’t it?

So … off we trundled  to York, ticked  off the first two things on my ‘To Do’ list, legged it back to the station, hopped on the 10.27 Northern Rail to Leeds – spent a crazy three hours pounding the streets, notepad and pen in one hand, camera in t’other,  with Mr B as chief map reader, and saw 75% of what we needed to see. We even had time for a sneaky crispy duck wrap each in Trinity Kitchen for lunch. I was going to tinkle the ivories in the Victoria Quarter shopping arcade, but I think Mr B would have been on his toes, halfway back to York before I’d sat down! 😀

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We were so pleased with ourselves when we got back to York mid-afternoon, we had a crafty pit stop in The Gillygate pub before tackling the last bits on my list. The sun was even shining for us.

By the time we sank into our seats for the return trip to London, my feet were waving the white flag, but it was so worthwhile.

Yes, it was a long, tiring day and I shall have to return to Leeds at some point, but that’s no hardship, and if I can get those promo tickets again, I’ll be well pleased. I’ll  have more time to nose round too (especially at all those fabulous shops).

Might even get to play that piano!

Oh I do enjoy research.

Love Jan x

How my dental visits fixed my teeth and my plot holes!

I’m off to the dentist this week which as nice, patient and caring as he is,  doesn’t exactly make me want to grab my maracas and samba down the high street (this being the fifth of six visits –  broken tooth, root canal treatment and a crown refitted – Oh joy!).

On the flip side, though, my weekly travels to and from the surgery have also helped solve a sub-plot issue in the next book I’m writing. One of my characters wasn’t fully conveying the depth of his shock enough to move the story forward. Something was missing.

Well, bus journeys in my neck of the woods are rarely quiet affairs. Being a writer who is never without her trusty notebook and pen, my ears are treated to all manner of *ahem* lively conversations, one of which, last week, almost made me lean across the aisle and high five the poor woman in question. Her reaction both physically and verbally to her friend’s bombshell news was precisely the emotional ‘oomph’ I wanted from my fictional scenario.

More body language. That’s what my main man needed!

Yes, I felt nosey (although in my defence, this person on the bus was hardly whispering!) but my overriding feeling was gratitude and the realisation that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, where storytelling is concerned, observation is key.

My smile was as wide as this when I reached the dentist!

 

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Teeth ready and raring!

 

I’m guessing some of you must have had similar experiences?

Do tell …

 

Love Jan X

Life Cycle of a Writer – Exciting News!

The Romaniacs

Last year we started the Life Cycle of A Writer feature where we take it in turns to blog about our writing journey and share the highs and lows, give and receive encouragement and generally chat about how things are going. This has proved a very popular feature and we are delighted to announce that we now have our first live gig!

Laura, Catherine and Sue are taking The Life Cycle of a Writer to Chichester Library next month where they will talk about their paths to publication, what has happened since signing their contracts and also what inspires their novels.

If anyone is in the Chichester area and fancies coming along for a chat, Laura, Catherine and Sue would love to see you.

The Life Cycle of a Writer

We are hoping to take The Life Cycle of a Writer to other parts of the country and will keep you posted with any future…

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