Long time, no speak… hear the latest!

Hello Again

“Books at Beverley Races” took place last October and was a roaring success. Lots of happy smiling faces, many books sold, hilarious conversations had and long overdue catch-ups finally achieved after, in some cases, two years apart. It was a lot of hard work but it was so worth it – and let me tell you, I wasn’t always sure it would still go ahead, what with Covid lingering in the background. Truth to tell, this event was a bit of a crazy late-night idea of mine. I had no idea what it would really require, but I met each challenge head on, knowing how much this meeting would mean to people.

Also, what it would mean to me. The idea of organising a book event such as this arose from a desire to challenge myself, to test my capabilities. I’ve always been a bit of a leader in every job I’ve ever had, yet since becoming an author, I’ve obviously only been in charge of myself, and I might have somewhat forgotten the broad spectrum of what it is I am capable of. Yet this desire to challenge myself wasn’t just about reconnecting with long-forgotten skills… it was an urge to level up with everyone around me. So many people have been in pain for one reason or another this past couple of years. Yet they’ve stepped up. They’ve shown up. Especially some people close to me – mostly, my husband, who’s not only about to lose his dad from cancer, but this past few months or so, has had to deal with some terrible, cruel manoeuvres from people within his career orbit. That’s not something you need or expect, especially when these people know your father and best mate won’t be here for much longer. But what does not destroy us, only makes us stronger (or stranger), and we are stronger and more defiant than ever. It was at this event actually that someone told me just how much my partner had helped her that day – and I agree – my husband is normally the one propping up everyone else.

See more photos from Beverley on our Instagram Page or Facebook Group!

So last year was a productive year indeed. Under my third (secret) pen name, I published four books which have been very well received. And after the success of Beverley, I really wasn’t sure about organising another event. I was exhausted. And if you’re anything like me and you can see a lot of moving puzzle pieces inside your mind, then you’ve accounted for everything but you’re also prepared for it all to go wrong, too. Yet – and I am sure many other events organisers experience this – after pulling off something like this, you have a sort of withdrawal (if not right away, eventually) and all you want to do then, is do it all over again! Maybe one day I won’t want to do it ever again, but right now… I can announce that I AM DOING IT AGAIN!

The feeling I got after Beverley was not only that people wanted me to do another event, but that they also want me to make it more varied. There were many constrictions I was under at Beverley due to Covid and other factors, preventing me from going further, but now I think I have found a terrific venue that will give us the platform to create something even more special.

I find that at every event I attend, whether as a reader, author or organiser – they just zip by too bloody fast! All the people you wanted to speak to you don’t always get to and all the things you told yourself beforehand to absorb and suck up…. Well, in practise, it just doesn’t always happen. So with “Authors at the Armouries”, I am organising a dinner-dance after the main signing – and also hoping to lay on some small, intimate seminars/panels on the Sunday morning, too! There may be some interesting conversations that morning!

So if you are an author and would like to register your interest for my next event, click here and input your details! If you’re a reader and would like me to approach your favourite author, send me an email… smlpublishinguk@gmail.com. So far, it is shaping up to be an exciting and unforgettable one. All genres are welcome and we have already had interest from thriller writers, PNR, fantasy, romance, poetry, contemporary and children’s.

Other News

I’m sure not one of you has not been affected lately by what we’re seeing in the news. We all feel useless and mortified we can’t do more. Yet all over the place, small acts of kindness are brimming – sometimes it’s those that push me over the edge, not to mention the images we’re subjected to every day. I am contributing but a poem to this anthology organised by Danielle Jacks, but there are several authors writing short stories centred around military romance. All proceeds will benefit the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal. You can find out all you need to know here:

Pre-Order on Amazon UK or Amazon US

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A New series from s. m. lynch

This year, it’s 10 years since I first started publishing and I find myself more and more going back to my roots. I began my writing career publishing sci-fi novels and as S. M. Lynch, I find myself able to explore avenues and areas of my writing I can’t as a romance writer. As a thriller writer, I can vent about a lot more – and considering my past self of ten years ago predicted a pandemic to occur in 2023 (I was a couple of years out), maybe we can read quite a lot into my other predictions, too. It’s the fate of an ex-journalist, I am afraid, to be always on the pulse.

So it gives me great pleasure to announce my next publication, RUTHLESS! I can’t wait for you all to read it. Read the blurb:

A new series which adds a fresh perspective to the frightening, alternative S. M. Lynch universe . . .

Leah was wrenched from everything she knew at a young age and turned into a killer. It became that she didn’t know anything else but the day’s toil of hardening her body and her mind.

Her mentor Caleb was the only person she saw and she couldn’t escape him. We only know that at some point they fell in love, but it didn’t quite go according to plan.

The present Leah Feltham is now the toughest assassin in London, a woman in her thirties working alone, existing for the job, nothing else.

Then, something goes wrong.

War is brewing. She knows it.

And she’s about to find her true love, right before it all kicks off . . .

**This series can be read without any previous reading, but for added context, it’s recommended you read the Ruthless Series after reading the Collective Series**

S. M. Lynch Connected Novels Reading Order:

Chimera (Collective 1)

Panacea (Collective 2)

Exodus (Collective 3)

>>>>Ruthless<<<<

The Radical (Unity 1)

The Informant (Unity 2)

The Sentient (Unity 3)

The Awoken (New Unity 1)

The Rising (New Unity 2)

Add Ruthless to Goodreads: here

Catching Up with the Joneses – for fans of Angel Avenue

Recently I re-read one of my own novels (oh the vanity!!!). It was quite nice actually, and because of the distance I’ve put between myself and this novel now, I was reading it as if from a new reader’s perspective (almost).

Angel Avenue was a novel I wrote in a rush of affection and nostalgia for young love and the city I went to university in and still live nearby. In the novel, Angel Avenue, I never state the setting is Hull. I guess I wanted you, the reader, to envisage the world of this novel as any place – anywhere. I never state the main, bustling avenue Jules and Warrick live on and around is Angel Avenue, because there is no such thing as Angel Avenue. There’s Newland Avenue in Hull – and many of the other sites I’ve described in the novel are real, too. You can go visit them! How glamorous, eh? The title Angel Avenue was suggested to me by my husband Andrew. The original title was Losing Laurie and the book originally was centred around the idea of this woman, Jules, transferring the loss of her mother to a man who did the dirty on her. Like a mourner who goes to their loved one’s grave on a specific day of the week, maybe every day, Jules returns to the spot she met Laurie. I think it is difficult to understand Jules’ psychology but the moral of this book, Angel Avenue, is hidden very carefully within the pages. I focused on etching the characters and the build-up of real love (not teenage or lust-fuelled love) but actual, long-lasting love.

angel avenue collageWarrick is a man given a second chance at life and since he washed himself clean of all his vices, he’s not taken them up again. There’s a splice between innocence and experience in this book – and it’s experience which redeems Warrick – because he saves Jules. A teacher, she in turn gets a new reputation for herself at school for being a cool, ballerina/dancer chick, and when the kids find out Jules and Warrick are together – they trust him too. And thus, a paedophile ring and a traumatic case of bullying are uncovered in this novel. Therefore, ANGEL AVENUE this is, because wouldn’t we love such difficult problems to be solved so easily in real life, eh? Jules’ life was fucked up by her parent’s addictions and she triumphs professionally, yet falls down personally.

I read recently that it takes a hard heart to write a tender novel and this is so true of me and this novel, Angel Avenue. This novel was a terrific salve for me after finishing the gruelling and brain-taxing novels A Fine Profession and A Fine Pursuit. Perhaps I recently re-read Angel Avenue because I needed some salve again!

Anyway, after doing my re-read, a scene came to me which I wrote a few weeks ago now. In the actual novel, which I will never add to or subtract from because it’s exactly how Jules and Warrick told their tale to me at the time, we have an epilogue from Warrick’s POV. But not one from Jules.

What follows now is an epilogue from Jules’ POV. You’re now catching up with the Joneses a few years after they met, as they navigate married and family life. If you haven’t read the novel, you might not want to read this extra/extended epilogue. However, I don’t think this will spoil your enjoyment of Angel Avenue too much if you do decide to go back and read the main novel. After all, it’s the way they fall in love that counts.

When we first had the twins, I was frightened to death of dropping one of them. I was terrified of all sorts and I relied on Warrick for everything. I only know how to be a parent because of him, because I never really had a parent of my own, not one I remember well enough anyway. Everything before my eighth birthday, I’ve blocked out, because that was when Mum was alive and I don’t allow myself to remember how happy I was before she was stolen from me.

To read the full epilogue, click the link below…

Put the kettle on, kick your feet up, and revisit my favourite fictional couple. Well, no I can’t say that, because they stand alongside Cai and Chloe, Lottie and Noah, Seraph and Ryken (and a few others I can’t tell you about yet…)

Just…. enjoy! 😉

DOWLOAD: Jules’ epilogue

Purchase Angel Avenue in paperback or eBook:

angelavenue.do

Value Your Words – Why I Didn’t Accept a Book Deal

Last week a publishing contract landed on my doormat and it took me maybe minutes after reading it to know it wasn’t for me. I’m not going to mention who the contract was with, the money involved, the clauses, etc. I’m just going to say it was a London publisher and they made me an offer after my agent approached them.

If you’ve been self-publishing as long as I have, almost three years now, you might have watched other self-published authors (some of whom are friends) land deals. I’ve watched loads of other Indie authors land deals with all sorts of publishers and some find themselves no better off; alternatively I’ve watched some find themselves worse off, and there are also the few, rare cases of the authors for whom it has really worked out because they have gained a massive, loyal readership from signing with a publisher. After all, gaining a readership is what we all care about most.

In the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve been warned about a few things:

  • Some publishers will offer you a deal without setting out the parameters of their own efforts.
  • Some publishers are not interested in collaboration.
  • Some publishers fail to pay royalties.
  • Some will give you a worse book cover than what you started out with.
  • Some will edit the life and soul from your book.
  • Some publishers offer a marketing package but often, authors have found it is up to them to do most of the marketing, if not all.
  • Some publishers will take most of your royalties.
  • Some don’t even offer an advance but expect a lot of commitment from the author.
  • Good publishers are hard to find.

I am sure there are lots of authors who see that contract land on their doormat and go gaga, immediately sign it and send it back. I can entirely understand why a lot of authors would be so excited at this prospect, so excited in fact, that they don’t think about not signing because signing seems the answer. It’s every writer’s dream to see themselves on a bookshelf; for most it symbolises respect and official authorship (I don’t believe this at all – we’re authors as soon as we have readers).

HOWEVER!

Landing a deal with a publisher does not guarantee your book will end up on a bookshelf anywhere. The biggest high-street stores are picky as to what they put on their shelves and unless you’re EL James, Dan Brown or Sylvia Day, your book may appear in Asda for a week before it is replaced by the next bestsellers.

So, what does that mean? With all these uncertainties, I mean. So many words in exchange for such small fortune. It means, those of us who are already self-published, have a choice. TRY TO SEE PAST THE SHINY CONTRACT. We always have a choice, no matter what deal comes through the door. Those words are ours and we can decide what to do with them. You have a choice to give your words away and risk losing them altogether, perhaps with only a small chance of getting the rewards you deserve, or you can seek that right publisher for you. The right publisher might not offer you a load of royalties either, but they might offer a package that will nurture you. Some publishers are not interested in this. I don’t know why, but they’re not.

When I started out in self-publishing, I was honest with myself. I am also honest with most people I meet and sometimes, people bristle at this quality but if you walked in my shoes a minute, you’d see why I hate dishonesty, time wasting and hollow promises. So I saw self-publishing as a chance to grow my writing ability, to develop my social networks, to learn the ropes of publishing in general. I was surprised when some people who read my first book (written while I was breastfeeding!) wrote to me to say they had been kept up reading all night, so eager to reach the end! I genuinely love what I do, and anyone else who does, is a bonus. I never will take myself seriously. I know I am a talented writer but I don’t take myself seriously. What I do take seriously is freedom. Don’t get me wrong, it is all a terrific juggling act as I also squeeze in the editing projects that land in my inbox in between my own projects. When a job comes in, I have to down my writing tools and neglect my true love while I provide for other people. This is a fact of life I accept but another string to my bow i.e. editing has definitely broadened my skills. When I finish an editing project, I go back to my writing – and this for me, is freedom. To have that choice, is everything.

This is what I am getting at: if you sign that contract, some choices are taken away. That is what a contract is. In exchange for signing away your words, you might not even see any rewards for losing your right to choose. Self-publishing allows me a freedom of expression that few publishers will because they have to peel a book through all sorts of official processes.

The lesson I take away from getting that contract through the door is that the words in black and white always have more of an impact than words spoken aloud or read on a screen. The words offered to me didn’t match the words I’ve written. I believe so much in my words (Unbind, if anyone is wondering) that I won’t take any deal I am not happy with because Unbind is too important to me. Unfortunately my agent underestimated how much.

One day, some black and white words are going to change my life – and I will be ready for it. I will know when it is right to share myself. Until then, I’m not giving my words away – I’m sharing them and sharing the journey. Anything to hinder the sharing thereof, and I’m not onboard.

I was taught to never take your first offer, just wait for something better. My mum says I seem to have dropped lucky a lot in life because of my propensity to be uncompromising. Well, someone has to be. I’ll let you know if it pays off. Maybe one day soon, eh…

p.s. There is no such thing as vanity publishing anymore, it’s now just about doing it for yourself, and many are thriving without a “publisher”.

In conclusion, here are two articles I found very interesting:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michaellevin/are-there-5-reasons-to-st_b_5569189.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books&utm_content=buffercbec0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/paul-murphy/indie-writers-are-doing-it-for-themselves_b_6919906.html?fb_action_ids=10152621244792038&fb_action_types=og.comments