Honestly

It’s been a while since I have put up a post on this blog. If you want to follow my day to day life, bookmark my island blog, www.symidream.com

Here’s the catch-up on my news.

Honestly
One of the reasons I’ve not had much time to blog here is that I have been writing. I have just finished the first draft of a follow up to The Saddling, and I am in the process of preparing Honestly for Kindle publication. Honestly is a Miss P novella. If you have read Remotely, then you will have met Miss P, the slightly magical, timeless protagonist who does a couple of unusual things. She is sent by unseen higher powers to places where there is a problem. She identifies the issue and places a cigar-smoke-based spell on those who need to sort this problem out. In Remotely it was the feud between two ex-best friends, and she swapped their bodies, so they learned what it was like to be each other and that leads to… Well, you should read it. In Honestly there is an issue of writer’s block. Having sorted out William Shakespeare’s writer’s block, she finds herself in a small fishing village where an incoming family have not been made welcome. This is set in the present day. So, she places a spell that makes the villagers speak honestly to each other until the situation is resolved.

RemotelyI am hoping the book will be ready within a couple of weeks. It’s a 24,000-word novella and, like Remotely, is fun and a bit bawdy.

By the way, my fabulous cover artist at Red Raven Book Design has redone the Remotely cover and is working on the Honestly cover. The new Remotely cover will be there when Honestly goes on sale.

The Witchling
Meanwhile, my first draft of The Witchling is complete. This is the follow up to The Saddling, and you’re advised to read Saddling before Witchling. This title won’t be out for several months yet, probably next year. The first draft took me four weeks, it was a bit of an outpouring of story and needs lots of work, but at least it’s out of my system now that I have told myself the story. I now need to improve it by 100%, and I will do that when I have the next book published, and that is…

Symi, Stuff & Nonsense
This is going to be my fourth book about living on Symi, in Greece. It will contain some writing about Symi and life here, plus some other travel stuff (stories from previous travel adventures of mine) and some nonsense (mainly observations of daily life, meaning of words and other… well, nonsense.) I am aiming to have that ready for November 2017 in time for Christmas gift buying.

The 13th
Meanwhile… The film I wrote, ‘The 13th‘, is going through the rounds of film festivals and has picked up 14 or 15 laurels now. These are awards for best actors, editors, music, etc. I attended part of the Cyprus International Film Festival where ‘The 13th‘ was being shown, and had a great time there. The Greek premiere of the film will be here on Symi this coming Monday (24th July) in front of the mayor and islanders.

That’s the news for now, but just a reminder: please remember to leave reviews of my books on Amazon if you can, and if that’s where you bought it from. They are very helpful to me as they are to all authors.

Thank you and there will be more posts here when I have more news.

The Cyprus International Film Festival

My news at the moment is that the film I co-wrote, ‘The 13th’ on which is based my novel, ‘The Judas Inheritance has been selected for The Cyprus International Film Festival which opens next week. I am going to the festival for its first weekend, leaving home next Thursday to arrive in Cyprus on Friday, see the screening on Saturday and perhaps introduce it, and then returning to Rhodes on Monday and home on Tuesday. The film already has six laurels, each one representing an acceptance to a festival, or an award at a festival, so we are all very pleased about that.

My other news is that my novel, ‘The Saddling’ has taken off and already has nine five-star reviews on Amazon. I have started on the next one in the series, ‘The Witching’ while, at the same time, working on a short novella in the ‘Remotely’ series. So, a mystery thriller in one hand and a comedy in the other; I just hope I don’t get them mixed up. I also hope I have enough time to write them both. Saddling took me several years to complete, from original idea to finished book, but as ‘The Witchling’ is set in the same place, I already have many of the characters and the settings, plus more of an understanding of the dialect. So, hopefully, those components will flow smoothly; I just have to figure out the plot details and write in the words.

The Saddling

One of the problems I have now is that more people are investigating my earlier novels and, to be honest, they are not as good as the last four. One of the reasons for this is that they were self-published before I found an editor, so could do with tidying up. Another problem is that they were not professionally laid out and I can’t afford to have the edited and laid out by someone else, so, do I delete the older ones from my lists? Or do I leave them as they are until I have time to re-edit and re-design the interiors? It’s a dilemma, and one I am still debating with myself.

Meanwhile, I have some travelling to do and lots of writing to do, two of the reasons my blog here is not as up to date as my daily day-to-day blog which you might also like to read. You can find Symi Dream here.

News from my desk

Screenplay and film news

Here we are heading into another weekend and what’s the news from my desk? As readers of my day-to-day blog about my life on the Greek island of Symi (www.symidream.com) may already know, I’ve been a bit involved with the London Greek Film Festival. The recent news there is that our film, ‘The 13th’ won three awards. Best Actress for the wonderful Rebecca Grant, Best Music for the very talented Michael Bishop, and a Special Award for the whole film itself. Basically, as far as I can make out, it came second in the Best Film category. All great news for the film. There is also a distribution deal in the offing which will see it released to the public in time. My novel, The Judas Inheritance, is the original story based on my original script for the film. The film is now being considered for the New York Greek Film Festival; fingers crossed.

My ‘Without a box’ bio; this site is where films are put when they are being submitted to film festivals.

Novel writing

As for the next novel… Where do I start? Since finishing The Saddling, (seven five-star reviews now, the latest one being: “A real page turner. From start to finish a great read. Right up to the last page the ending couldn’t have been predicted”) I have plotted out two new novels, started work on an adaptation, and written a few first draft chapters for two others. As you can see, I am not sure where to go next. The one I started talking about in a recent post has been put aside as another idea crowds in, and I think what’s happening is this: I’ve finished one major work, 100,000 words (The Saddling) and so my mind is free to create more worlds and characters, situations and plots. Trouble is, there are so many to get out. I am aiming for 2,000 to 3,000 words per day on something, but need to focus on one idea at a time. That’s always been my problem, knowing what to leave for now and what to work on next. Maybe next week I will settle down to just one thing.

The Saddling

 Publicity

I have also been trying to get to grips with publicity and have put out a few feelers for someone to do this for me. It’s not because I am lazy, though I can be, it’s more to do with not understanding the process. Every time I look at a site that says it will publicise your books, I start to switch off. It’s not the cost, though I don’t have a budget for publicity, it’s all the fiddly bits and pieces you need to understand. So many sites, all with their own rules, so much advice, and so many ways to do things, I’d rather be writing than worrying about keywords at Amazon, freebies, Insta-something this, and book-blurb that, weekly deals and giveaways and all those other marketing tools. It’s a nightmare without a team and budget behind you, but we press on.

The Judas Inheritance

 Covers

I have also commissioned a new cover for Lonely House, one of my more gory horror stories, and I am again using Red Raven Book Design in Portugal for this. I highly recommend Diogo and his work and am looking forward to seeing what he comes up with over the next week or so. He’s also pretty quick and asks in-depth questions about your book and your vision before giving five mock-ups. He also builds into his price some extra work for edits and changes, and still the cost comes in at under €200.00 (depending on how many changes you want.) Check out his website and see what he can do for you.

Lonely House, James Collins
Original cover – looking forward to seeing the new one soon.

 And onwards

So, it’s the weekend now, and I have 101 things I want to write and so little time to do them in. I’ll leave this post here and go back to my notebooks and maybe roll a die. I have six project ideas, some started, some plotted, and maybe I should number them and then roll the die and settle on that one.

Awards and reviews

Here’s a new update. I’ve been writing a lot this past couple of weeks, so have not had much time to attend to the blogs I also write for. Every day seems to be about typing, which is no bad thing, but there is some news to impart.

The Saddling’, my latest mystery/thriller set in the wilds of the Romney Marshes in Kent, has picked up three five-star reviews on Amazon already and has been going reasonably well in the sales department. Not enough to retire on yet, not enough even for a decent dinner, but well enough. Me, being me, have already plotted out a follow-on story and am now thinking of having a series of four (earth, wind, air and fire themed, vaguely). The Saddling, with its climactic storms and floods, would cover the water element, now I just have to create the following three stories.

The SaddlingThe film that I co-wrote, ‘The 13th’, had its world premiere at the London Greek Film Festival last week and picked up three awards at the awards ceremony at the end of the film festival. Best Actress, Best Music and its own Special Award. Great news there!

I made a list of what I am working on right now, and it goes to show how the mind works. It’s in one of its creative phases at the moment which means, for me, lots of ideas and not many actual chapters. I keep flitting from one idea to the other and need to tie myself down to work on just one. At the moment I have, on my list of things in the planning and plotting stage, with some chapters drafted for some, we have: An adaptation of a musical I wrote years ago, telling the story as a novel. A follow-on for The Saddling, called ‘The Witchling’ (fire theme). A short YA romance novel, or novella. A full-length comedy/farce as a kind of follow-on toRemotely, again featuring the mysterious Miss P. A story about old school friends meeting up after several years for a camping trip that has a few twists and turns in it (thriller). And an idea where the narrator talks to people from his past in letters, called ‘Letters To The Past’; that one is along the lines of, ‘What would you say to people from your teenage years if you could go back and speak to them now as they were then? So many ideas, not enough time.

So, it’s back to the typewriter.

The Saddling

The Saddling

It was quite appropriate that I took a morning walk yesterday (when I was finally able to release my latest book for publication) and saw the sun coming up. Perhaps this will herald the start of a ‘best-seller’, though, without a massive publicity machine and the finances to distribute the book to shops myself, I rely totally on my friends and blog readers to share the news and sell the books.

Symi Greece Symi Dream
A new day dawns on a new book release

Finally, it’s out there. My new novel, ‘The Saddling’ is now available to buy. For a change, we were able to get the Kindle version ready and published before the print version, you should be able to get hold of that today or tomorrow from Amazon. It will start to show up in other outlets in a few weeks. Click here for the Kindle copy of ‘The Saddling’ by James Collins.

I just searched for it on Amazon and was amused to be asked, by their search engine, ‘Did you mean The Paddling?’ No, actually, I didn’t. The Saddling came up first in the list, closely followed by the alarmingly tempting ‘Saddling Her Stallion’ by Olivia Myers, then a record called ‘Saddling Up’ by Darcy Slade, and ‘From Haltering to Saddling’ which looked like it had something to do with horses. I am in good company. Well, I am in the company of a heroin who ‘finds her heart fluttering for the dangerous bandit with stunning eyes’, a guitarist, and the English translation of a German book the cover of which shows a woman kissing a horse. None of which has anything to do with my mystery thriller set on the Romney Marshes in Kent, I am pleased to say.

Symi Greece Symi Dream
About 6.30 yesterday

As I have mentioned here before, having reviews of books put up on Amazon does a great service to the writers. The more reviews, the more likely Amazon is to promote the book. Also, sharing posts like this on Facebook or Twitter, or anywhere else, is an excellent way to help the authors along, so please feel free…

As usual, there will be a drink for the first person I see reading a copy on Symi – a print version, I should add. Something you can buy and bring with you and then, when you have read it, leave it at an airport, or a hotel, or somewhere where someone else can read it and, hopefully, be interested enough to buy a couple of my other titles.

Here are the back blurb and the book cover, so you know what you are looking for the next time you go book shopping.

The Saddling full cover - SMALL

“Their faith was stronger than his reason.”

To inherit his aunt’s fortune, Tom Carey must unlock a one-hundred-year-old family mystery. The solution lies on the Romney Marshes where the village of Saddling lives by an ancient Lore. Unknown to Tom, the villagers set in motion a chain of calculated events that will ensure that the winter solstice will witness their last ever ‘Saddling’ festival.

Unaware that his life is in danger, Tom befriends two village youths. Through the mists of fear and confusion, their friendship forces Tom to confront a secret of his own.

Tom finds himself the unwitting hero in a struggle between superstition and sense, denial and love, with no escape from either.

Meticulously imagined in the eerie mists of Romney Marsh. A wonderfully evocative landscape of mystery.” Ann Butler Rowlands (Author of ‘Heaven’)

Praise for James Collins:

“Comparable with the best of Stephen King.” Charles Allenden

“Very gripping, imaginative read.” Amazon

“He has mastered that technique of forcing you to start the next chapter as you really care what happens to these people.” Derek Stephen

“A real page turner and kept me guessing right to the end.” David Hendry

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072BGKGKX