Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Chick Lit Round-up (March 2014): Interesting Articles

Interesting articles I’ve come across this month (quiet month, this)

March 2014 Chick Lit Releases – I Heart Chick Lit

The Bad Boys in Chick Lit and Romance Novels – Sara Daniel

Novel Escapes’ Best Indie Chick Lit List – Goodreads

Location, Location, Location – Jera’s Jamboree

Is There a Chick Lit Gap in African Literature? – Standard Digital News

Other stuff:

Site to check out: Romantic Fiction Online

Sign the petition to get bookstores and other literary organisations to accept indie authors

New chick lit (and crime) book blogger Book Addict Shaun

For writers:

7 Chick Lit Writing Tips – Quips & Tips

Houston Writers Guild will be holding a contest open to indie authors in the autumn (fall).

Comet Babe, Chick Lit v Fantasy, Sky’s Book Corner, Dreaming With Open Eyes, Chick Lit Club (email jade@chicklitclub.com) and This Chick Reads are looking for guest posts

Chick Lit Reviews & News want to do more author giveaways

Simon & Fig are looking to publish some “politically charged, DC-based chick lit”

Previous Round-ups
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013

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Early Daze is FREE Today and Tomorrow! (30 & 31 March 14)

Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and all other Amazon sites.

About Early Daze

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Early Daze is Available on Amazon! [Links and Post]

Early-Daze-CoverEarly Daze is now available for Kindle on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and all other Amazon sites, but will be FREE Sun 30th and Mon 31st March.

So, Is This About You? Writing From Your Own Experience

One of my beta-readers for Early Daze asked if it was my story. Well, yes and no. It isn’t a memoir, but it certainly draws more on my life than any of my previous works.

Jess’ baby, Samantha, is essentially my daughter. The book follows her progress, with very minor adjustments. The Facebook posts which Jess makes are actually adapted from the ones I wrote at the time. I also had the diary I kept to draw on. A lot of Jess’ thoughts and feelings are ones that I had. It isn’t a book based on research; it’s based on experience.

That said, I didn’t go through everything that Jess did. I didn’t – fortunately – share her struggles to make enough milk for her baby. I was very much a Gwen in that respect. However, I wanted to include that part of story because I know so many women go through that. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s difficult for so many mothers. Pumping full-time is not natural and so is harder still. Also, I know that being good at making milk comforted me for my “failure” (and it does feel like that) to carry my baby to term. It must be doubly painful when milk production is slow too.

Jess’ relationships with her fiancé, friends and family are fictional. My husband supported me all the way. Likewise, although I went through a lot of the things Jess did, we’re not the same person. She has plenty of attitudes I don’t share. I always like to give my characters significant differences from me, if only to remind myself that we’re separate!

But I did share her feelings of being cut off from the “real world”. You can’t help it. When you’re staying at the hospital, your life revolves around the NICU. The flats Jess stays in were based on the ones I stayed in. So was the hospital, although my daughter actually transferred to a different one once she moved into Special Care. For the purposes of the story, I needed them both in the same location. The doctors and nurses, however, are fictional.

In Early Daze, Jess develops a crush on one of the other parents. You may think this is a strange thing to happen at such an emotional time, but it isn’t. It’s actually common, for exactly that reason. You’ve just given birth, so your hormones are all mixed up. You’re suffering sleep deprivation, because you’re pumping round the clock. You’ve suffered a big shock from giving birth early and you’re cut off from your normal life. The result of all this is that you go a bit bonkers. While your brain struggles to sort itself out, you think and feel all sorts of strange things. The fact is: human beings are odd creatures.

They say you should write what you know. The trouble with writing about a hard experience you’ve been through is that it’s very hard to step back from your work. When you write, you can do it for yourself. When you publish, you have to be able to put emotional distance between you and your work, because otherwise you will be devastated when people don’t like it. And not everyone will – that’s just inevitable. That’s why I tried to make Jess a lot different from me, to make sure I could think of it as her story rather than mine.

One thing I’m doing differently with this one: I’m donating 10% of the proceeds to charity. Specifically, to Bliss, a charity for premature babies.

 

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Guest Post by Julie Shackman: What’s the Best Part of Being an Author?

Today we have a guest post from author Julie Shackman.  Take it away, Julie:

~~~~

“What Is The Best Part of Being an Author?” P1020433

I got asked this very question just a couple of days ago.

For me, it has to be receiving feedback from readers. When people tell you that they’ve read your novel   and it made them laugh out loud; almost shed a tear or look back fondly at the past, the feeling of satisfaction defies belief.

Something that you’ve pored over. Struggled with. Enjoyed one minute and felt exasperated with the next. It’s finally finished and out there and people are actually reading it. You’re sharing your imagination and the readers are choosing to be part of that.

I felt happy but somewhat sad too when I wrote “The End” on “Rock My World”. It’s a bit like saying goodbye to old friends.

But then to receive such lovely e-mails and reviews from people who spent their hard-earned cash on “Rock My World” – it just makes it all worthwhile.

Thank you.

Julie

~~~~

Julie’s first novel is Rock My World.

Rock My World New Cover - 27 March 2014Ruby Cameron is an ambitious reporter for a local paper where she is fed scraps of news, and lives with a man whose “idea of living dangerously is to leave the heating on when we pop out to the shops”. But after catching her squeaky clean boyfriend in flagrante delicto she ups sticks and moves into her own small home, only to discover the ghostly presence of a cheeky rock star who becomes her confidant as the dynamics of her small town, and her feelings about her dashing new boss, begin to throw up more questions than she can answer.

Will Ruby discover who she really is, and perhaps more importantly, who she wants to be?

Published by Not So Noble Books.

Buy Rock My World on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites.

Join Julie on Twitter, Facebook

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The Inspiration for After Wimbledon

This was written as a guest post for Lipsyy Lost & Found.

Naturally, for a novel by an English writer about the Wimbledon tennis tournament, After Wimbledon was born in Australia.  For the tennis fans: it is the Laura Robson of chick lit novels.

I was taking some time out after finishing my degree.  Having fried my brain by studying physics, a light-hearted romance was all I was good for.  I arrived in Melbourne halfway through the Australian Open and spent most of the next week hanging out in Fed Square watching the action on their big screen.  That was fabulous because it was right in the middle of the city and anyone could just wander down.  I even sat in the Rod Laver Arena (the equivalent of Centre Court) for one day.  Since I was travelling alone, I managed to grab an odd seat right in the front row.  I heard Roger Federer swear, that’s how close I was.

At the same time, I was struggling with a decision.  I’d been dating someone for a couple of years before I went away and had left him back home.  In a twist on the classic tale, he was sure we were for keeps and I was uncertain.  I was only 23 when we started dating and wasn’t expecting to get serious.  Marriage was something for my thirties, if it happened at all.  One morning, in a shower stall at the hostel, I broke it off over the phone.  It was Australia Day, but the fireworks seemed rather out-of-place.

A few weeks later, I decided it was time to write another novel.  My first, The Dr Pepper Prophecies, had been completed five years earlier.  Suddenly, I had something to write about again: tennis and major life confusion.  And out of those things After Wimbledon was born.  The first draft contained much angst.  I reckon I cut out about 30,000 words to get to the final version.  I’m just counting that bit as therapy.  It’s a much better read without it!

And the boyfriend I mentioned?  Reader, I married him.  Only happy endings here…

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Free Sample of Early Daze

Early-Daze-CoverI’ve settled on Early Daze for the title of my new novella (thanks to everyone who voted). It’s out with the proofreaders at the moment, but I hope to have it published on 1 April 2014.  I’ll be making it free for 2 or 3 days when it comes out, to try and get as many early reviews as possible.

Meanwhile, I’ve created a page with the first two chapters for you to read.  Hope you enjoy it.

To get emailed when I release this work, sign up for my mailing list.

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Which Wedding Dress Would Each Character Have?

Following on from the post on which engagement ring my characters would have, I thought I’d have some fun and do one for their wedding dresses as well.  This was in no way just an excuse to look at wedding dresses.  I really didn’t look at enough when I had the chance.  The run up to my wedding was so busy I think I only tried on one!

Mel (The Dr Pepper Prophecies)

Mel wedding dressAfter what happened at Brittany’s wedding (Wedding Hells), there was no way Mel was going strapless.  She was also convinced she’d fall over anything too long.  She nearly went for something brown in case she had a run in with the chocolate fountain, but Beth managed to talk her out of it.  After extensive searching, she came up with this, which also worked well with her lack of height.

Lucy (After Wimbledon)

Lack of height isn’t a problem for Lucy, but she needs to be able to move.  She’d never fit in on My Big Fat Lucy Wedding DressGypsy Wedding in this elegant draped gown, which shows off her beautiful figure.

Jess (Early Daze)

Jess' wedding dressJess isn’t one to stand out and set a trend.  For her, it had to be traditional, complete with veil.

The long veil and train, when combined with candles, proved to be a mistake.

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Winners of the Great Chick Lit Ebook Giveaway

GiveawayEbook

The lucky winners of the Great Chick Lit Ebook Giveaway are:

  1. Blythe Jackson
  2. Patricia Avery
  3. Jessica Meddick
  4. Eramys Pepper
  5. Fani Filippou

You’ve all been emailed.

Congratulations to the winners.  A big thank you to everyone who supported our giveaway!

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Proofreaders Wanted for New Book

Basically, you get a free, pre-release copy of my new book.  In return, I’m looking for you to make a note of any errors you find as you read through and tell me what they are.  I’m not expecting professional work, just a good eye.  If you always notice errors in stuff you read, I need your help.

I’ll send it out when I’ve finished this edit, which will probably be another week.  I’d be looking for people to read it in the two weeks after that.  It’s around 40k, so that should be doable.

Anyone interested, please contact me or leave a comment below with your email.

Please vote on the title and the cover.

To get emailed when I release this work, sign up for my mailing list.

 

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My Life as a Writer

This was written as a guest post for Chick Lit vs Fantasy

Why I Became A Writer

It wasn’t really a decision.  I wrote stories as a kid, just because it was fun.  As a teenager, I belonged to a fan forum for the TV show Farscape and a number of us wrote stories.  Partly because we wanted to and partly because we were interested in one of the minor characters and there wasn’t that much fanfiction about him.  We turned into a mini writers’ group, all encouraging each other.  That’s when I wrote my first stuff that was actually worth reading.

Writing an original novel was on my long-term to-do list, as it is for a lot of people.  At 20, taking some time out after finishing school, I decided I was going to do it.  So I did.  That was The Dr Pepper Prophecies.  Five years later (on another gap year), I wrote After Wimbledon.  At 30, I discovered I could publish to Kindle and suddenly I was an author.

What I Like About It

There are two kinds of really great times to be a writer.  One is when someone else tells you that they loved your work.  The second – just as important – is when you read back something you wrote ages ago and think, ‘This is good.  I’m proud I wrote this.’

As a stay-at-home mum, it’s great to have a job that’s completely flexible, although I could use a few more hours in the day!  Trying to fit in all the writing, editing and marketing necessary to be successful is very difficult.  There’s so much I would like to do that I just don’t have time for.

What I Dislike

Getting bad reviews is never fun.  It’s impossible to write a book that everyone will like, so you have to accept that some will come.  Most of them are fair, but occasionally you get someone who wants to hurt.  Sometimes they succeed.

With each book – no matter how many good reviews your previous ones have got – you live in fear that no one will like it.  You have to keep letting your babies go and hope they find a place in the world.

Overall

Having your work out there is very cool and I think it’s fantastic that anyone can publish these days.  Plenty of great work gets turned down by traditional publishers because it’s a bit different, or because they just can’t afford to take a chance on an unknown author.  Now you can publish your work yourself, for free if you like (although most writers fork out money for things like professional cover design), and find your audience.  There’s one out there for everything, although it may be small.

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