35 Book Giveaway, $400 Amazon Vouchers and Smashing New Cover Reveal!

Happy New Year!  We have Amazon gift cards and mystery thrillers to be won, plus the cover reveal of our new Crouch End Confidential box set.

Hope you all enjoyed the holidays. Pam’s huge hints to her husband Ian for a blow heater (so she didn’t have to freeze her fingers off while working in the cold attic), didn’t come to fruition but she did get some great work-out gear.  And the lovely Belgian chocolates she was given mysteriously disappeared before she could tuck into them. Something tells her that it could be a big hint from Ian that she needs to get fit before he allows her back on the tandem. We’ll see about that! 

Lorraine had 30 guests over for Xmas dinner. Lots of drama when 90 mph winds took down the power lines and left her in the dark, searching for candles and wondering if she’d be serving half-raw turkey.  Luckily her friends braved the gale force winds and the bird finished roasting on the barbecue grill.  Lights and heat returned just in time to eat and before the indoor temperature plummeted to freezing.  All agreed it was a Christmas miracle.

We made a few resolutions for 2017 but alas, we’ve already broken one of them. It’s now 10 days in and we still haven’t written up our super-duper new work schedule. See Take Five Authors blog

And now for the fun stuff:

Drum Roll, please!  We proudly present our new cover reveal!

Yes, we finally decided to offer our three hilarious “Crouch End Confidential’ cozy mysteries, starring housewife sleuth, Cathy O’Farrell, as one box set with a smashing new cover.  This will be published sometime this month. If you’d like to be kept informed of when it’s out, then follow us

on   

or  

and they’ll send you a new release update.

$400 Amazon vouchers in The Kindle Book Review New Year’s Giveaway!

Ring in an especially happy New Year by winning one of four $100 Amazon gift cards from the Kindle Book Review!  Just click here to enter. 

Ends 15th January

Crime/Mystery Thriller Giveaway – 35+ books to be won

And now for this week’s Authors XP Giveaway which includes our very own Looking for La La

Win up to 35+ Thrilling eBooks!

(2) Grand Prize “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks!
(35) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

 

 Click on the books or click here to enter

Ends 16th January

Good luck to all and best wishes for an amazing 2017!

Ellie Campbell

Cleaning out the Clutter

Reblogged from Take Five Authors 

pants

It’s 2017 and after last week’s resolutions, it’s in with the new and out with the old – clutter that is. Pam’s clearing out her underwear drawer and has just discovered she owns 51 pairs of knickers (aka panties in the U.S.A.). She has no idea how it got so out of hand but clearly some of those must be past their sell-by date!

The slogan for decluttering seems to be ‘If it’s not useful and you don’t love it, throw it out’. If I truly obeyed that I’m not sure I’d have any clothes left and days like today when I’m feeding horses in a foot of Colorado snow who cares if my sweaters are old and baggy?

But our bulging wardsugar-in-the-snowrobes makes me think of the editing process and someof those huge unwieldy first drafts in our early collaboration. Pam and I have definitely got better at chopping away unnecessary pages, paragraphs and all those extra adjectives that tend to obscure rather than enhance the story. It’s a useful metaphor for life too. Now the crazy holiday season is over it’sa good time of year to take a mental step back from all the busyness to see what’s really valuable and what it might be better to let go.

Meanwhile, just as daunting, I’ve been tackling the thousands of old and unread messages in my two email inboxes. Why two emails? Well, my Yahoo account grew so overwhelming that ages ago I signed up for a second service, under the illusion that using this new exclusive address I could start afresh, be organized and not skip over anything that looked boring or leave opened messages to choke up my inbox. Hah!

So the last few evenings, I’ve been hard at it, sorting into folders any message about writing, money, or whatever, that migunsubscribeht be important to save. Every email I open I’ve been putting the address in the search box to gather others by the same sender and am either filing or deleting in bulk. I identified a huge amount of junk by searching for ‘unsubscribe’, ‘no-reply’, ‘opt-out’ or likely words like ‘student loan’, ‘mortgage’. There’s also that trick of changing the sort option to see what rises to the top and a very clever app called Unroll Me which safely unsubscribes or rolls up the daily new subscriptions that appear in my inbox. In the process of organizing, I’ve found a frightening amount of things that were overlooked – dinner invitations, questions needing an urgent answer two years ago.

More entertainingly, read more at Take Five Authors…

 

Facing the future – with resolution

Reblogged from Take Five Authors:

A new year, a new start? At Take Five Authors, we all have our own aims and goals for 2017 – we’d love to share them with you!

Janet Gover writes: So – 2017. What have you got in store for me?

We never know what’s ahead – but that should not stop us making plans – or New Year’s resolutions. I’m not a fan of the ‘lose weight’ or ‘exercise more’ resolutions. I know I’ll break those. But here are some resolutions I am determined to keep….

  • Read more books
  • Take my readers and supporters back to Coorah Creek – and this time for a wedding.
  • Expand my reading – trying new authors and new genres because there are so many good books out there just waiting to be read.
  • Expand my writing – try writing something new and exciting because I love a challenge.

That all sounds good and achievable – wish me luck. And I hope 2017 is a wonderful year for you and yours.

_________________________________________________________

Ellie Campbell says: Resolutions – seriously, why do we bother! We know that by the time February rolls around we’ll be back to our same old habits. Still New Year is a great time to kid ourselves we can change for the better, so here goes.

  1. Finish what we started. We’ve always got at least two or three projects in the pipeline and often find ourselves bouncing from one to the other depending on our mood. But this year we intend to be more focused and linear in our approach – until the next inspiration hits, at least! Read More

Source: Facing the future – with resolution

Just close your eyes for a whole new world of books

Anyone for audio?

Take Five Authors

800px-ernesthareradiosipConfession: I read very little these days. That is, I read a great deal for research purposes, and I read far too many newspapers articles (especially this year, when the politics everywhere has been so intense and dramatic!) – but as for sitting down with a novel … sorry, but I can’t remember the last time I did that!

Shocking? Well yes. Writers should read, shouldn’t they?

I agree, absolutely. My problem is, since I started writing novels myself, I’ve found my concentration span has shortened immensely when it comes to reading other people’s books. If a novel is fantastic, it makes me want to run off instantly and get back to my own writing – in other words, I find good writing inspiring. If something is poor, or just doesn’t catch my interest … well, frankly, life’s too short to waste.

headphones-1088732_1280However, I do get through twenty to thirty novels…

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Balance in the Life of A Writer

I was at a party once where a well-established mystery novelist told me she was lucky if she managed to write for an hour or two a day, the bulk of her schedule being consumed with book promotions, Twitter, Facebook, newsletters, her blog. Seems that many writers are performing the same high-wire act. Without a social media presence, without Bookbub, 99 cent promotions, Goodreads competitions, mailing lists, and all that ongoing effort, chances are that even the best-crafted novel will languish, lost and crying out unnoticed, in the wasteland of Amazon’s millions of fiction books. Well, boo-hoo, I can almost hear you say. After all, this isn’t high school English – no hoary old professor is forcing us to come up with the next Ellie Campbell book. And juggling time is nothing new for writers. Most of the literary greats had to fit in their artistic endeavors with full-time jobs, squeezing precious hours out of the early dawn or burning the midnight oil.

But still I wistfully think – wouldn’t it be nice to get a sense of balance? And have a life beyond the laptop? Are we all being forced to multi-task way beyond our natural capacity, checking our emails while sitting on the toilet while brushing our teeth? Lifting your nose from your mesmerizing screen only to discover six hours have vasalesnished, the husband has walked in the door and dinner is still a frozen chicken and a bag of groceries lying unpacked on the counter along with the breakfast dishes. We all have responsibilities shrieking for our attention: children, elderly parents, pets that need feeding or walking, even horses, (some of us). We have bodies that ought to be exercised more, friends that are feeling neglected, the guilty sense that however we spend our precious time, there is so much out there being left undone…

Read more at Take Five Authors blog

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Right now for this week’s fabulous competition.  Too good to let it go by.  It’s the humor giveaway at Authors XP and it runs through to Nov 7th and includes our very own Looking for La La. We would love our blog followers or newsletter subscribers to win one or more of these fabulous novels.

Win Up To 20+ Humor eBooks!

(2) Grand Prize Kindle “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks!
(20+) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)
Nov. 1-7

 One last thing we heard about and again it’s an offer to good to miss – Count the Roses by Jackie Weger’s novel and it’s free until 5th Nov. Check it out below

Count The Roses 2nd imageAMAZON EXCLUSIVE
First time offered FREE

“Fantastic.Really a Wonderful read…Just a job well done.” ~ avp

“The author’s descriptions of the bayou and New Orleans are fantastic. I loved the characters–all of them.” ~ avp

Travel with Jennifer DeWitt from New Orleans—that humid, high-stepping city of music and magic on the Mississippi River to the depths Louisiana swamps where real life happens. And a sexy Cajun just happens to live.

FREE ~ AMAZON EXCLUSIVE ~ FREE
November 2- 5, 2016
Print edition on Amazon
Print edition on Barns & Noble

Win up to 18 Novels in the General Fiction Giveaway!

Just a quickie today as we can’t let this week go by without letting you guys know about this fabulous giveaway.  Free to enter!

Win Up To 18 General/Womens/Historical Fiction Novels!

(2) Grand Prize Kindle “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks!

(18) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

Keeping our fingers crossed for y’all!

Pam and Lorraine (Ellie Campbell)

Into the wilds of Mongolia

Well, I promised I’d report back on my Mongolian trekking trip and, yes, it was quite the fantastic adventure.  From Ulaan battar, the capital, we travelled 2 and a half days overland, passing Erdene Zuu Monastery along the way.img_6149

The first two nights we stayed in tourist camps where we were accommodated in gers (yurts) and and bathed in a communal washing blocks, our last showers for quite a while.  This was our pink palace with wood-burning stove.  We also got entertainment the second night – you haven’t lived until you’d heard famed Mongolian throat singing.mongolia-pink-gerThe next day we arrived at our horse camp in the Zavkhan province, 1,104 Km from the capital. We had a day to get used to our chosen mounts and from there our sturdy, tough and half-wild Mongolian horses took us over 120 miles (200+ km), through bogs and rivers, across the wide open steppes and over snowy mountain passes, a lot of which looked surprising like Colorado.  Only without the hikers and joggers.
mongolia-horses-grazingWe visited nomadic families in their gers, tried such local delicacies as milk curds and mares’ milk vodka brewed in a home-made still. Yum!mongolia-ger

We slept in tents, camped by rivers and lakes, basked in gorgeous sunsets and woke to a thick layer of morning frost.  Zavkahn has some of the coldest winter temperatures in Mongolia, having been recorded as low as as low as −52.9 °C (−63.2 °F) but luckily this was September and we only had one day of snow.mongolia-rainbowFood, you ask?  It was mutton for dinner.  Yep, every night.  With vegetable curry for the non-meat eaters.  Our wranglers killed a sheep on the first day of our trip and its carcase provided our main meal with nary a bit wasted.  Here it’s prepared with hot rocks. mongolia-lamb-dinnerEverything cooked on an open fire or portable stove, even our delicious bread.mongolia-stove17 days of no technology, bathing in chilly rivers (for those so inclined) and rustic bathroom facilities.toilet-mongoliaWe met bands of roaming horses, got chased by a jealous stallion, heard wolves howl, encountered eagles, marmots, deer, and of course herds of sheep, goats, and yaks.  In 2005, Zavkhan was home to 2,1 million head of livestock, among them 1,03 million sheep,  861,000 goats, 107,000  cattle and yaks, 101,000 horses and 6,300 camels (of the two-humped Bactrian variety).  What didn’t we see?  City lights, roads, or tourists.mongolia-camelsAnd I fulfilled my dream of galloping across the Mongolian steppes,  thanks to my small but feisty ex-racehorse that I christened Snowflake.  Stopping was a different challenge.14344869_10154144625392182_7645542630260860595_nAnd then when our adventure was done, they turned the horses loose, to fend for themselves, wandering free in this unfenced land that seemed to stretch forever.  And we returned to civilization, thankful to Zavkhan Trekking for organizing an amazing trip.

 

horse-herd-mongolia

The editing cave

All about editing. Janet Gover’s great post 😀

Take Five Authors

I’ve been in my editing cave for the past three weeks. It’s sort of like a bear being in their hibernation cave… except bears tend to lose weight during hibernation. There is a shared reputation for being cranky when disturbed though…

Writing The End on the last page of a manuscript is NOT the end. It’s far from it. Every writer’s process is different. There’s no right way or wrong way, there’s just the way that works for the writer. So I thought I’d give you a bit of a look at my editing process… which explains my absence from Twitter and Facebook and the kitchen. It doesn’t explain why my office is messy though – my office is always messy.

Editing needs both old and new technology ... and many cups of tea.Editing needs both old and new technology … and many cups of tea.

I tend to do a lot of editing as I go, so my first draft of…

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