Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Actual book launch, Saturday - Virtual launch coming soon

Only three more days now until the actual book launch on Saturday. I hope there is nothing that I’ve overlooked in preparation. My niece is catering for the day and she is planning a lovely morning tea - sandwiches, scones, cake and biscuits with tea, coffee and soft drinks. I’ve tried to keep formalities simple and brief, so that the occasion is relaxed and casual - a speech that takes around 10 minutes and two readings, so 20 - 25 minutes should see it all done. The other hour and a half can be selling, signing, mingling, eating and catching up with friends and family.
The only thing I’m a tiny bit concerned about is available space in the hall, as I have had such a good response in regard to people attending. The hall accommodates 100 for a function, but I will have a few tables and chairs taking up some space. There are 56 definitely attending, 3 ‘maybes’ and there are always a few people who turn up without telling you that they’re coming.
In regard to the planning of the Virtual launch, I feel a little bit daunted and excited at the same time. I’ve never planned a Facebook event before and have been reading any resources I can find online for useful tips and ideas. It seems strange to think of hosting a launch in cyberspace while I’m sitting here at home all by myself. Maybe I should ask a few friends around to help create actual party vibe.
Meanwhile I have been thrilled to have Mine to Avenge up on Amazon with a great review, but a bit disappointed because Amazon had technical problems with the cover. Apparently they were unable to work with the lighter brown band around the base of the cover (see photo below), and asked the designers to remove it.  So buyers through Amazon won’t get the cover as originally designed.
I was also excited when I found that a Goodreads member has chosen Mine to Avenge for her ‘To Read’ shelf, based on the wonderful first review posted there.
If you think you might like to drop in on the Virtual book launch, please drop by and Like my author page so that you will receive an invitation when I have chosen a date.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

One journey ends, another begins

As the launch date for Mine to Avenge approaches, I realize that I am the end of one part of the journey and at the beginning of another. The book itself is completed and out there for everyone, but the marketing and promotional side of things is just beginning. I believe that will be an ongoing process, for much longer than actually writing the book and getting it published.
With the change in focus, I am also reassessing the focus of this blog - A Novel Journey. I originally started the blog earlier this year to invite readers along with me on the publishing journey of a first time author, but that has been achieved now, and although there will still be more things to share about Mine to Avenge, I think A Novel Journey might need to broaden its focus in terms of content. I haven’t made any definite decisions about a particular focus, but just a broader one at this time. I still intend the blog to continue with a writing/author focus, so please stay tuned if you have been following regularly, and see how things unfold and take shape.
If you would like to purchase Mine to Avenge it’s currently available from Amazon (link below) - with its first review, and the ebook should be available within the week. The book is up on Goodreads as well. I will notify of other purchase options as the book goes live over the next week or so, and there will also be an online launch at my Facebook Author page in a few weeks time - date to be determined. Drop by and Like my page if you think you might like to attend, and I’ll send you an invitation when I have decided the date.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Only one week until Mine to Avenge is launched!

It is safe to say that I am eagerly anticipating the launch of my debut novel, which is now only a week away. I have one definite magazine review lined up, another potential magazine review, and a book review blogger in the US waiting for it for a January review.
I also received some feedback today from the first person to read Mine to Avenge who isn't related to me, or has had no prior connection to me before offering to read all 165,000 words and write a review. She is someone I have only been getting to know since connecting on Facebook for mutual support, as authors do. All the while she has been reviewing my story, she has been busy with her own writing, preparing a short story of her own for a competition, preparing for NaNoWriMo and doing her civic duty in some capacity in her home town, but she still offered to review my story in the midst of all that busy-ness, asking nothing in return. And on top of that, she contacted me to say she has finished reading it, and she enjoyed it. It will always be special to me to know that the first 'stranger' who read my novel said that she really liked it. I'm eagerly awaiting her final review.

 Hope you all enjoy the following extract from chapter 4.

As Caterina stood by the kitchen window the day before their planned departure, a movement caught her eye as she looked out into the lane. She saw Alcandor standing with his back to her, reading a piece of paper. Farther along the lane, she saw a man she didn’t recognise walking away. As she watched, Alcandor finished reading what was on the paper, and then looked in the direction of the man who was now out of her sight. Alcandor ran after him, and he, too, disappeared from view.
Caterina ran outside and looked along the lane after her husband. As she watched, Alcandor caught up with the man, grabbed him roughly by the front of his shirt and shook him vigorously. Voices were raised, but Caterina couldn’t hear what was said because they were too far away. The man was shrugging his shoulders, waving his arms and emphatically shaking his head.
Alcandor suddenly released him, and stood watching as the man turned his back, and hurried along the lane, brushing down his hair and straightening his shirt and braces as he went. Caterina hesitated, not sure whether to go to meet her husband or to wait for him where she was. She decided to wait, and saw him read the piece of paper again. He then folded it and thrust it deep in the pocket of his shabby trousers. Her thoughts were racing as she wondered how to broach this with him. His face was white and he appeared to be in shock, not noticing her at first as he came by. She slipped her arm through his as he passed, and felt his body trembling.
‘Is everything alright?’ she asked, lifting her face to his.
He hesitated a moment, then turned to face her, releasing his arm from hers and taking her by both hands. He held them tightly, looked deeply into her eyes and was about to say something, but suddenly changed his mind. He let go of her hands and walked ahead of her back into the house.
‘We need to leave as soon as we are ready,’ he said. ‘We cannot wait until tomorrow.’

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I've signed up for NaNoWriMo

I signed up for the first time this afternoon to NaNoWriMo. For those who might think that this sounds like the name of an alien planet, it is short for National Novel Writing Month, held every November, with the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel in a month. All the information I am reading emphasizes that the goal of participating in NaNoWriMo is to produce a very rough, unpolished first draft of a novel - no editing allowed - aiming not for quality of work but quantity. You can start polishing and editing later, once the month is over, if you think you have something worth working with.
I thought this might be a good way to get the sequel for Mine to Avenge underway. I have a beginning, some of the middle and a hazy ending, but not much more than that, so it will be good to see if I can come up with some more flesh in terms of plot by participating in a project that might discipline me to plan for a regular writing time each day.
Writing 50,000 words in a month equals about 1667 words a day, or almost two and three quarter pages of a Word document on my laptop.
There are two main things that I think I might benefit from as a writer by taking part in NaNoWriMo, and as I think about them, they almost contradict each other in nature. Firstly, as I have already mentioned, I need to be more disciplined in my writing if I want to improve in the craft. I need to make a regular time to exercise. Exercising improves performance, with writing as with anything else.
However, the second thing I think I will benefit from is the undisciplined nature of the writing process that NaNoWriMo encourages. I want to improve my ability to write in continuous free-flowing mode, without stopping to go back over everything, editing as I go, which I often tend to do, trying to get it right the first time. I certainly think thorough editing is vital later on in the process, but maybe by participating in this venture, I can learn more to enjoy the experience of just writing for writing’s sake.
Have any other readers ever participated in NaNoWriMo? I’d like to hear about your experiences.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

My books have arrived!

My books arrived today - a day earlier than expected. It was quite a strange feeling opening the boxes here at home in the silence, by myself - an experience that was all the more surreal due to a poor night’s sleep last night. It seemed like a dream to open the box and lift out the culmination of two years hard work. Arriving the day after the acceptance of Mine to Avenge for a book review in a major magazine, has made the past 24 hours quite amazing for a first time author.
Please enjoy the following extract from chapter 46 of Mine to Avenge.

Alethea felt conspicuous standing by the locked gates, so she returned to the car to try to make up her mind what to do. Leaving wasn’t an option. She had to see Linus, even if it meant waiting outside all day. Surely he wouldn’t ignore her, knowing she intended to be there.
As she sat waiting in the car, several people passed by, but no one took particular notice of her. She knew she wasn’t easily visible to other homes in the street, as they were all hidden from view by fences or greenery, but she was worried that the neighbours might be suspicious of a woman sitting in a parked car, doing nothing.
Puzzled by the gate being unattended, she decided to see if she could find another way in. She remembered seeing a smaller side gate and wondered if that might be open. As she reached for the car door handle, she was startled when Linus appeared at the window.
Alethea hesitated and changed her mind about opening the door. She regarded Linus suspiciously, suddenly alert and cautious. She had driven all this way to see him, but his sudden appearance caught her unawares. She sat there, unsure of whether to get out of the car or to just drive away.
Linus sensed what she was thinking, so he waved at her through the window and stepped away from the car door to give her space. Alethea still hesitated but didn’t want the visit to be a waste of time. She couldn’t back out now. She opened the car door, stepped out onto the footpath and faced him. There was an uncomfortable silence, with neither of them willing to start the conversation.
Eventually, Linus took the initiative. ‘Hello, Ally, I guessed you would come, in spite of what I said this morning. I saw you on the security monitor so I came out to meet you. Do you want to come in?’
This was the last thing Alethea expected, given the nature of the conversation with Linus earlier that day. He’d told her then that she would be in danger if she came. The last thing she expected, or wanted, was to be invited in. Certainly, a moment ago she was planning to try to find a way to let herself in, but to be invited in was a different matter. She thought it would be safer to take Linus out with her somewhere in the car. She fumbled now for words.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Book review offer from major magazine

I received my first offer of a book review today from a major magazine here in Australia, which is very exciting. It will be great to have some exposure in a national magazine, but my excitement is hedged around with caution. There is no guarantee that the exposure will be positive. It could well result in a negative review, but some people say there is no such thing as bad publicity, so I will try to keep that in mind when the time comes.
What amazed me was how quickly the offer came through. It was only the second magazine I targeted, and the Editor replied to me within five minutes saying she wanted it. I will keep plodding away with the submissions, and hope I have further success.
I also need to seriously explore appropriate book review blogs. I have already had a paddle in the very large pool of blogs and bloggers in my quest to find the right ones, and I think the sheer volume will make the process quite challenging. Also, most bloggers have a limited range of genres they like to review, which means I will have to check the sites thoroughly for their review policies.
On a completely different topic, I have changed my blog template (again) after receiving some good advice about making older posts more visible. There were several options to consider - one was removing all of the post dates, and sending posts out again, interspersed between recent posts, while another option was finding a template that made all the posts more visible than a standard blog archive does. As visitors will see, I’ve opted for the second suggestion, hoping that you might linger longer browsing through things you might have missed. Let me know whether you like it.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Excerpt from Chpt 3 of Mine to Avenge

Caterina tried twice to visit Constantine before the funeral, but he didn’t come to the door. She knew he was inside. She could smell tobacco smoke seeking to escape the morbidity of the house through any crack and crevice it could find.
‘Please, Con,’ she begged. ‘Open the door. We’re worried about you.’
There was no response, but the smell of tobacco convinced her that at least he was alive.
She tried her best to console Alcandor who blamed himself and who couldn’t find the courage to face his friend. If only he hadn’t wanted to go hunting that day. If only he had listened to Constantine’s objections and let him make up his own mind. If only they had come back earlier ... if only ... if only ... if only.
Caterina gently urged Alcandor to come with her to the funeral. Deep down he didn’t want to go, but he hadn’t seen Constantine since Helena was attacked, and he thought that going to the funeral might be a good thing. It meant that they would see each other. Maybe, in time, Constantine would want to speak to him again, but as he thought about this, Alcandor had no idea what to say to his friend when the time came.
He didn’t go with Caterina to view Helena’s body at the house, when Constantine was finally able to make the necessary arrangements. He couldn’t face going to Constantine’s house again. Every night when he closed his eyes, he saw the flimsy curtain fluttering from Helena’s window. He saw Constantine drop to his knees, his fists clenched and his agonised face turned skywards. He always woke retching with the memory of Helena lying under the window, her nightdress torn from her bloodied and beaten body. He remembered how white she was, with her life’s blood drained from her, and then he remembered the cry from Constantine’s lips. Every time he recalled that cry, his body broke out into a burning, drenching sweat.
He didn’t want to go to Constantine’s house to relive this horror. He didn’t want to hear the voices of the village women singing the ritual lamentations. He didn’t want to look upon the pale, white face in the casket. He didn’t want to kiss the cross around the pale white throat. He didn’t want to look into the eyes of his friend who, according to custom, would have sat up all night watching over the body of his beloved sister, doing what he should have done that final, dreadful day, rather than go hunting with Alcandor.
Alcandor knew that his friend blamed him for Helena’s death as much as he blamed himself. He was guilty. It was just as much his fault as it was that of the unknown assailant who had violated and slain her.

"Safe to say I'm pretty hooked!!"

I was thrilled today to receive a message from a fellow writer who is currently reviewing Mine to Avenge for me. Receiving favorable feedback has to be up there at the top of the list of things that give authors a boost - up with such things like receiving the books for the first time. Her comment made me feel that the last few years of writing haven’t been wasted, and it’s hard to imagine whether receiving the printed books next week will top what she said today.
To quote E.J. Rycer, whom some of you may know from the Facebook and Twitter communities -

‘I was reading Mine to Avenge and accidentally took an extra 10 minutes at my lunch break because I was so absorbed in it... Safe to say I'm pretty hooked!!’

It’s nice to know that I might have managed to produce a half-way decent story that someone else might like - someone who has never met me and doesn’t know me. Writers all expect nice comments from family and close friends but it’s the unknown potential response from readers we don’t know that’s just a bit scary.
Having basked today in the warmth of the nice things being said about my story, there are still two things that worry me. E.J. Rycer is just one reader out there. Maybe others won’t have the same opinion. Maybe others won’t read my book at all. Why should I expect them to, as an unknown writer?
And the second thing that concerns me, is that she hasn’t come to the end of the story yet. It’s one thing to write a story that keeps readers absorbed and ‘hooked’, but it’s another to finish the story with a satisfying ending. As a former school teacher I have read many stories showing such wonderful promise, only to be let down at the end. I’ve seen many movies like that as well.
In the meantime, if you would like to have a taste of what E.J. Rycer is reading in Mine to Avenge, I am offering the first two chapters (PDF) for anyone who’d like to hop on over and ask me via my Author page at
I’d love it too, if you would Like my page while you’re there. And just to invite reader participation and comment here on the blog, tell me which stories or movies have let you down with a poor ending.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

On lending support and encouragement

At last, the day that every first time author looks to with eager anticipation is fast approaching. The publishers telephoned me today and said that my printed books are ready and will be shipped tomorrow. I will actually have the printed, bound book in my hands by the middle of next week, in plenty of time for the scheduled launch on Saturday 3rd November.
In regard to my post yesterday, I have found another reviewer happy to read Mine to Avenge and prepare a testimonial for me. I am very thankful for the many wonderful connections I’m making through the world of social media. I’ve learned that making friends this way is a little different to making friends when you meet people in person, but in some ways it’s the same.
As in real life, many people cross your path on Facebook, Twitter, etc, but most of these will remain casual ‘now-and-again’ acquaintances. However, every now and again someone different comes along - someone who is happy to pause a while on their own path and take the time time to get to know someone else, and lend some help, support and encouragement in the process - the gems who have something extra special in terms of going the extra mile. All I can say is a hearty ‘Thank you.’

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Seeking Testimonials

I have arrived at the stage of chasing up pre-release reviews and testimonials, which I am finding is not a very easy thing to do. The biggest barrier is my own reticence to put myself forward. I’m sure other authors have struggled through this necessary part of the process.
I’m also finding that you can put a lot of time and effort into researching appropriate blogs and reviewers, but getting responses - positive or negative - is the tricky part.
I was almost fooled for a time, when I received my first acceptance in less than 24 hours, after only having made half a dozen approaches, but I have made many more since then, and it is slow work. I even put out a call through my Facebook Author page with some free copies of my book on offer for anyone willing to do a testimonial for me. I picked up three people but two have still to get back to me with contact details, and I still have two copies on offer.
If anyone visiting my blog would like to help out, I would greatly appreciate it, but there is a very short time frame. I would ideally like readers to be able to commit to reading Mine to Avenge before November 3rd, if possible, in time for the book launch, and I would be happy for a brief testimonial, if you don’t have the time to do a full blown review. The book has 488 pages, so it needs people with plenty of spare time during the next two and a half weeks.
I haven’t taken delivery of the books yet, but I am able to forward a PDF copy in the meantime for anyone willing to put their hand up, and will post the book on when I receive them, in appreciation for your efforts.
If this sounds like something you are willing and able to do, please contact me via the Contact Form on my author page at 
There are only two more copies left on offer at the moment, but I might be able to offer two more in a few days, if the others who offered to do it don't get back to me.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Extract from Chapter 2 of Mine to Avenge

Constantine returned from the side of the house, pulling his cap down over his eyes. He looked at Helena again and hesitated. Alcandor saw the glance and nudged his friend. ‘C’mon, you old woman.’
Constantine put his hunting kit down on the rough cobbled path and embraced his sister. She kissed his cheek and pushed him away. ‘Shoot me the fattest rabbit you can find,’ she said, and turned away from them towards the kitchen garden.
Constantine and Alcandor left, turning at the end of the lane to wave to Helena. She didn’t see them as she was bent over by the kitchen garden, inhaling the fragrance of fresh thyme. They walked towards the woods in the distance, beyond the olive groves, with the sun just over their shoulders.
Constantine was ill at ease during the hunt and not thrilled by the success of the catch. His conscience pricked him for leaving Helena, but every time he doubted, his ego challenged him and told him to be a man. He was able to silence his conscience for a while and caught a few more rabbits, but as the sun began to disappear behind the mountains he was anxious to go home.
‘Let’s go, Alcandor. We’ve got more than enough for both of us, and for the neighbours.’
Alcandor didn’t press his luck by trying to make Constantine stay. He didn’t want to spoil what would probably be their last hunt together for a long time.
As they approached their village with the lengthening evening shadows racing ahead of them, they passed some of their friends sitting on boulders by the side of the road, smoking their pipes and talking. They invited Alcandor and Constantine to join them, but Constantine politely refused and kept on walking. The men were discussing a group of three strangers who had passed through the village a short while ago—soldiers, they said.
Constantine increased his pace. Alcandor lifted his cap in greeting and hesitated. He wanted to stop and hear more, but he sensed the urgency driving Constantine ahead of him, and followed on after his friend.
Constantine knew something was wrong, even before he arrived at the house.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Only three weeks to the launch of Mine to Avenge!

I received the first unbound proof copy of Mine to Avenge this week. It was a strange feeling to finally see my story in something resembling the form of an actual book. Of course it was unbound, but it was surrounded by a real matte cover, and filled with lots of pieces of paper, covered with words I’d written.
The publishers are busy building the website and preparing a brief book trailer to be ready for the launch which is now only three weeks away, scheduled for Saturday 3rd November. I am also hoping to run an online book launch for friends who can’t attend because of distance.
Meanwhile I am going to increase posting frequency over the next few weeks in the lead up to the launch, and include more extracts - some new ones and others I’ve posted before, for newer blog followers who might not have trawled back to Older Posts to read them.

Please enjoy this brief extract from Chapter 45:

Linus had no idea how long he stood in the doorway. His legs felt as if they were about to buckle under him, and his body trembled with shock. His right arm hung limply by his side, with the weapon in his hand feeling much heavier than it really was.
He stood watching the trail of blood oozing its way through the sparse hairs on the back of his grandfather’s head and neck. He stepped slowly into the library. ‘Grandfather?’ he whispered again.
As he approached from the left, he saw that his grandfather’s wrist was bound to the arm of the chair. He walked around in front of the chair, and saw that both of his wrists were bound. He couldn’t see his grandfather’s face clearly as his head had slumped forward, but could see that he had tape across his mouth. Who could have done this? What had been going on in the room before he arrived?
As he stood there with his ears still ringing from the gunshot, he heard a sound that scared him more than the sound of the gun. A voice spoke from the shadows behind the door.
‘Don’t move, lad. Put the gun down. Put your hands behind your head.’

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

On the subject of book trailers

As the publishers continue to move along with everything from their end, leading up to the book launch, one of the next things they will be working on is the production of a book trailer for Mine to Avenge - a brief video clip of about one and a half minutes to try to capture the essence and plot of a novel of 488 pages. Just googling the term ‘book trailer’ shows that it is an emerging, popular way for authors, new and established, to promote their new books. The video clips are then loaded on to You Tube and other video channels.
If you do a search for book trailers already out there, just to see what others have done, it’s  interesting to note that some hardly score any hits at all, while others have gone viral. Some professionally made ones didn’t appeal to me at all while some home made ones done on the cheap were very appealing and catchy.
I have a few reservations about the process so it will be interesting to see how it turns out. I’m not keen on having a strong focus on people’s faces in the trailer because I have very strong opinions on what I think my characters look like, and readers use their own imagination to picture characters as they read. The same could also be said of locations and situations. And also, to cover the important elements of the plot and link them together correctly strikes me as being a challenge if you aren’t the author of the book.
I think that making a successful book trailer must involve a particular skill - the skill of getting inside the author’s head to extract the true essence of the story. I know that as an artist and calligrapher, I rarely accept commissions for the very reason that I can’t get inside the customer’s head to see exactly what it is they want. Commissions have caused me a lot of angst over the years for that very reason, with lots of trial and error, whereas producing something straight from my own head is easier.
With the production of a book trailer, at least the publisher has the option of reading it before making the trailer, and it would get them part way there in terms of how the trailer is produced, but the result is still only one subjective opinion. But publishers are obviously busy people making lots of trailers at the same time for all the other authors on their books who have also written novels of 488 pages.
For this very reason, my publisher asked if I could provide them with a one page plot summary of the story to work from. I sent them two pages. One page wasn’t sufficient to include all of the key plot elements, and if some of these were missing it would run the risk of the trailer not giving an accurate summary.
Anyway, the publishers have been excellent to work with so far, so I am very interested to see how the trailer turns out … though truthfully I’m a little bit anxious. Watch this space!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

On creativity, and a comment on the sequel

If you are a regular reader of this blog, please don’t go away thinking you have come to the wrong place. I have had a creative turn of mind today and was a bit tired of the appearance of the blog, so have spent the afternoon experimenting with some changes (while also keeping an eye our state’s local football grand final). I was exploring the wide world of blogs last weekend and came across several other author blogs using the same template as I was, so I decided it was time for a change. I am aware that in time I will probably come across blogs using the new template I have chosen, but the old saying is that a change is as good as a holiday.
This is also part of my efforts to become more ‘savvy’ with what’s possible in terms of the world of blogging and the use of social media. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m quite new to  this and am enjoying experimenting with things and discovering things by trial and error.
I’ve also spent some time getting underway with the sequel of Mine to Avenge. I’ve found it interesting that even in these early stages, the process has been the same as it was when writing Mine to Avenge. I have my story’s starting point, enough to write the first two chapters, and I also have enough to write a few chapters connecting it to Mine to Avenge, but the substance of the story is still unclear.
In a nutshell, the story will revolve around the lives of two women (mother and daughter) who are mentioned in Mine to Avenge, but don’t feature in the story at all. I write of them fleeing their violent husband and father, and the sequel will relate the background to this and their lives after fleeing him. The link with Mine to Avenge will come through the character Linus, with whom regular readers of this post will be familiar already through the posted extracts. He is the grandson and nephew of these two women, and the sequel will also tell of his quest to track down his missing grandmother and aunt.

Four weeks to go and counting ...

The launch of Mine to Avenge is only 4 weeks away now. The invitations have gone out and RSVPs are coming in. I can’t believe how quickly the time is passing and there is still so much to do, but when I look at my original list of things to be done, it’s heartening to see that some things have been crossed off. I have hired a cheaply priced venue (the deposit is steep but refundable), a lovely niece is providing the food at a very generous rate, and different friends are assisting with setting up the venue and selling books.
Later this week I am also expecting to receive the first bound proof copy ahead of printing the actual books. I can only imagine at this stage what it will be like to have the actual bound book in my hands.
EBooks are the big thing these days, and Mine to Avenge will also be released in four weeks time as an eBook, but there is just something about the idea of holding a tangible product in your hands after all the years of hard work. I’m sure it must be the same for other authors as well.
This new electronic age has also brought with it the possibility of on-line book launch - something else I am considering for a time soon after the launch for the hard-copy version.  The idea of planning such a thing is somewhat daunting, given that my social networking skills are still in their infancy. However, at the beginning of this year I had no idea at all what Twitter was about, and suffered badly from ‘Facebook-phobia’, but now I am finding my way around on both quite well, and am actually enjoying it. I have learned how to add Facebook ‘Like’ buttons to my blog, and have also discovered the wonderful world of apps, learning which ones I might benefit from and how to put them on my Fan Page. I am hoping that four weeks will be enough for me to fathom the ins and outs of hosting an on-line book launch!

Meanwhile, let me leave you with another snippet from Mine to Avenge - a smaller bite this time - again from Chapter 48.

One balmy evening in 1998, the young couple living in the farmhouse realised they hadn’t seen their neighbour for at least a month. His car usually went along the second driveway at least once a week into the town, but neither of them could remember the last time they saw it. They didn’t know their neighbour personally, but were worried about him, so they walked down to his cottage to investigate.
They found the once pristine cottage dirty and neglected. The verandah was unswept and cobwebs adorned every verandah post. Inside, the building looked as if it had been abandoned, with a sheet of dust draped over the furniture. The kitchen showed no signs of recent use. Dishes were in the dish rack from some time before, but now needed cleaning again.
Suddenly they heard a faint whimpering, and they wondered if there was an abandoned kitten or puppy somewhere needing attention. They followed the sound, which appeared to be coming from a bedroom at the end of the passage. They went into the room, completely unprepared for what they saw. It wasn’t a kitten or puppy whimpering in the corner of the room, but a man, their neighbour, gaunt, dirty and seemingly unaware of their presence. He was crouched in the corner of his bedroom, rocking rhythmically back and forth, and mumbling incoherently, having succumbed to the tangled chaos of his tortured mind.