Loch Leven Castle and Mary Queen of Scots.

Few stories in Scottish history resonate more than the abdication and flight of Mary Queen of Scots southwards into England in 1567. There are so many ‘what ifs’ associated with that decision – alternative history authors would have a field day‚Ķ

Here’s a post courtesy of The Hazel Tree, full of fabulous pictures of Loch Leven castle for us all to enjoy.

Freebie – final figures

It’s been an exciting week – starting last Thursday when Capercaillie set Turn of the Tide to free download until Tuesday night.

As I watched the book soar up the Free Kindle rankings on Amazon I found it amazing to think that sometime soon there might be lots of folk all over the world reading something that I’d written. I took some screen shots of the Amazon rankings on both the US and UK sites Screenshot 2014-11-08 19.48.59
Screenshot 2014-11-08 00.42.26 – after all this was my first freebie and I might never reach such dizzy heights again… Screenshot 2014-11-08 19.48.32
Screenshot 2014-11-08 00.47.38

I’m not very mathematical (as my family will testify) one of my ‘quotable quotes’ – in response to a comment by my Maths teacher husband when I totally failed to comprehend negative numbers – was to classify Mathematics as ‘airy-fairy conceptualisation’. (I still don’t know which was more useful to them – my contribution of a new ‘big’ word, or my husband’s explanation of negative numbers. Though given that they all turned out to be on the science side of the arts / science divide, perhaps it was his.)

But I digress – graphs don’t usually excite me – but this one did – Screenshot 2014-11-07 14.36.53 and a week later still does, even though I am slipping down again and will continue to do so unless I get some real sales to hold my position. What was very interesting (to me at least) was the point at which I came into the rankings again following the end of the promotion. Screenshot 2014-11-11 18.30.05

I have no idea how long it will take to drop back to my previous level – it would be nice to think it wouldn’t happen, but I’m not that delusional! I’ve no idea either how they work out what colour to draw the line in now that the promotion is finished, though today there was a little blue dot showing in the middle of the orange line, which I’m presuming means a sale (or two? / three perhaps?) – My publisher has promised to let me know how / if this exercise has affected sales and if so by how much, but I’ll be waiting until Christmas to find that out.

In the meantime I have the figures of the freebie to cheer me, whether or not they lead to anything tangible in the end.
Here they are for those who might be interested –
37,158 (US)
4,112 (UK)
228 (Canada)
100 (Germany)
65 (India)
27 (France)
+ a handful (unspecified) in other areas. So a total of 41,600+

It’s rather lovely to think that at this very moment there may be folk out there somewhere reading what I’ve written.

Most experienced authors say that word of mouth is the best recommendation, and as a reader I can concur with that, so if even 1% of those folk read / enjoy and recommend the book to someone else I’ll be ecstatic. Is that possible? Will it happen? – Only time will tell.

But what has already happened is that I have 2 new review on the UK site and 4 new reviews on the US site, all of them encouraging, one of which, written by a blogger, Kate Martyn, amazed me by how quickly she must have read the book and marshalled her thoughts to produce such a comprehensive and lovely review with no spoilers. This was my first introduction to her and I shall be looking for more of her reviews of other folks’ books in the future. I recommend you do too – her reviews are literate, detailed, thoughtful and all without spoiling the story.

But however exciting all that was (and hopefully will continue to be) it was totally eclipsed by the birth of our 3rd grandchild Screenshot 2014-11-13 09.21.31 in the middle of it all on Friday evening. A third boy for our son and his wife, and he is (of course) gorgeous! It puts the writing game into perspective – however much I immerse myself in the world of the 16th century and the lives of people, historical and imaginary, who march through the pages of my books – real people are so much more important. And next week when I’m away to actually meet the newest member of our family I won’t regret for a minute that I’m holding him rather than writing.

When you hit a dry spell…

Here’s some good advice from Suzanne Lakin on how to get through a dry spell in your writing and turn a negative into a positive.

The short story is something I use myself when the novel is grinding to a halt – and in order to give myself the added impetus I keep a wee list of forthcoming Short Story Competitions to hand – nothing like the incentive of a closing date (not to mention a prize) to keep me going. And I can testify to the fact that getting credits in competitions does make a difference when approaching publishers and / or organisers of events such as festivals.

So however short or long your ‘glitch’ make the most of the time and write…

Freebie Update 2

Well, I was told, warned even, to brace myself for a 1* review when I undertook to let Turn of The Tide go on free download for c5 days. I’m not sure exactly when the free download period is ending, but as of now – midnight on the 5th day – it’s still in the top 20 on both the US and UK site. So I’m quite chuffed with that.

But more importantly, far from the 1* I was dreading, I have had two new reviews today on the US site – at least one of which is as a result of someone downloading the free book. And what a review – detailed, structured, comprehensive, literate and all round wonderful.

I don’t know Kate Martyn, but I am going to follow her blog – and will value her reviews of other books in the future.

And though I know the 1* may (and probably will) come, just now I’m feeling very encouraged and feel that the promo would have been worth it, just for those new reviews.

First ever Freebie Update.

By the end of day 3 I made it to #3 in the US and #6 in the UK free Kindle rankings, but more excitingly I began to see comments on various historical fiction orientated groups on Facebook from folk who had downloaded it – ranging from

this will join my long tbr pile


1 chapter in and already a fan

so perhaps a few reviews won’t be long in coming after all.
As this is my first time I’d no idea whether it was the norm to get to #3 / #6 or whether that was a really good result, but now folk are telling me it is good, so hopefully there will be longer term benefits as well.

Now I’m interested to see whether it was worth having it on free for 5 days – or whether 2 would have done the same job – time will tell.

And as there is still a day to go here are the links – US and UK

I’ll update again at the end of the promo period.

First ever Freebie

This weekend my publisher has set the ebook of Turn of the Tide to free. It’s been exciting watching it rise up the rankings on Amazon – currently at #4 in the US rankings and #28 in the UK. Of course these are the Free Kindle rankings and I’ve no idea what (if any) the longer term benefits might be, but I have got a screen shot!!so something to look back on at least. I do hope some of the folk who have downloaded start reading soon and maybe even review – that would be fabulous.

I’ll keep folk posted as to how it goes / what happens next.

And for those who might want to download it here are the links. UK and US

Previously…Scotland’s History Festival

Interested In history or historical Fiction? If so then ‘Previously’ – Scotland’s History Festival is for you. Lots of events taking place in various locations – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moffat, Dunfermline, Stirling and St Andrews. Visit the Home page for more general information including detailed event info.

I’m giving a talk / workshop – in Edinburgh on Friday 21st November at 17.30pm and again on the 29th November at 11.00am in St Andrews – on the place of history in Historical Fiction.

Although billed as being for writers it is equally suitable for anyone interested in the relationship between history and fiction whether as a reader or a writer and focuses on how history can / should underpin authentic historical fiction.