Those words were what one of my beta readers said to me when I went back to work after taking a few days’ annual leave so I could get some writing done.
So what did I do?
I signed up for the 2016 Virtual Fantasy Convention in October. Or rather Lou Hoffman/Lou Sylvre and I signed up for it together. As we both write fantasy it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to get out there, meet new people, and network. We figured doing it together would be a great idea and after all, we do have a co-authored project called The Harp and the Sea which sits in the genre.
Hi, it’s Anne Barwell. It’s the 30th of the month so time to pause between chapters and write my post for Authors Speak
It wasn’t until I had my first book published that I realised just how much time goes into promo. I’d known I’d need to do some, but didn’t realise just how many opportunities were out there. Now I put aside at least a week or so with each new release to write blog posts, and update my website etc.
Given that I’m only able to write about 1-2 books a year, I also make sure I sign up for various events and blogging in between books. After all, I can’t expect readers to pick up my books if they’ve never heard of them. A few authors/review sites have regular slots put aside for backlist promo, or events such as flash fiction spots. Those are a great idea, and I try to sign up for at least a couple each year.
I’ve also just discovered that the Romance Writers Association (RWA) in New Zealand have their yearly workshop convention in Wellington next year so I’m already making plans to ensure I get there. Meeting and networking with other authors is a big part of writing. I’ve met several people I now think of as friends by either offering them a blog spot on my site Drops of Ink or signing up to visit theirs. Unfortunately there’s not much in the way of conventions etc in New Zealand, so not making the most of the RWA meet in Wellington would be crazy.
Some days when I’m busy writing and trying to meet deadlines, and then have to stop and make time to work on promo as well, it can all seem a bit much. Often I feel as though I’m working two full time jobs, but although I might stress at times, I must admit I do enjoy it.
So now this post is written, it’s back to WWII for me. I have some not very happy characters wanting me to hurry up and get past the nasty stuff and give them their happy ending.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt for Shadowboxing, book 1 in my Echoes Rising WWII series. Winter Duet—book 2—is being released from DSP Publications in December, and I’m 62K into book 3 which is called Comes a Horseman.
Echoes Rising: Book One
Berlin, 1943. An encounter with an old friend leaves German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer with doubts about his work. But when he confronts his superior, everything goes horribly wrong. Suddenly Kristopher and Michel, a member of the Resistance, are on the run, hunted for treason and a murder they did not commit. If they’re caught, Kristopher’s knowledge could be used to build a terrible weapon that could win the war.
For the team sent by the Allies—led by Captain Bryant, Sergeant Lowe, and Dr. Zhou—a simple mission escalates into a deadly game against the Gestapo, with Dr. Lehrer as the ultimate prize. But in enemy territory, surviving and completing their mission will test their strengths and loyalties and prove more complex than they ever imagined.
Buy Link: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/shadowboxing-by-anne-barwell-261-b
Michel froze when several gunshots pierced the quiet Berlin night. “Kristopher…,” he whispered. No. Please no.
Beside him, Matt’s head jerked up. He swore loudly. A few moments later, another lone shot followed the first couple.
Walker and Palmer skidded to a halt, doubling back from where they’d gone on ahead.
“Elise’s Kaffeehaus.” Walker panted, trying to speak and catch his breath simultaneously. He and Palmer appeared to be much younger than their companions; Michel wouldn’t be surprised if this was their first assignment in the field. “Gestapo….”
“Matt….” Ken’s previous harsh timbre was replaced by something much gentler, but Matt ignored him and shook his head.
“No.” His voice shook, his words partly echoing Michel’s thoughts. “Not Elise. Please, not her, not now.” Matt leaned heavily against a nearby lamppost, his eyes glazed over.
“We don’t know who fired the shots, sir.” Palmer took over the explanation. At least he could pass for German if he stayed quiet and kept his head down. Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that, but there were no guarantees as to which way a particular mission might go. Michel had had that fact reinforced on more occasions than he cared to remember, but too many lives depended on them with this one. It had to succeed. “The Kaffeehaus is swarming with Gestapo, but there is no sign of anyone else.”
“We need to ascertain precisely what has happened before we move in. In order to do that, we will have to get closer.” Ken took charge—although Matt was the ranking officer, he appeared to be in no state to give orders. Whatever his relationship to Elise, this was not the time for him to be dwelling on what might be happening in the Kaffeehaus. Getting Kristopher and the plans to safety was still their priority.
“It’s damn obvious that someone’s been shot.” Matt visibly pulled himself together, although his voice hitched slightly before the word “shot.” “We need to get in there quickly in order to minimize damage. Gabriel, take Walker and Palmer and secure the back entrance. Lowe, Zhou, you’re with me. We’ll secure the front.”
“What if there’s another exit?” asked Liang, disengaging the safety on his handgun.
Matt shook his head, his matter-of-fact tone verifying prior knowledge of both the Kaffeehaus and its owner. “There isn’t. Not unless Elise has done some major renovations, which I doubt.”
“We’re probably more than outnumbered by Holm and his men.” Michel pointed out the inadequacies of the plan. “It would be more sensible to size up the situation first, as Lowe suggested, before we move in. The shot might be merely a warning. We don’t know for certain that someone is injured. If Dr. Lehrer and Elise have been captured, it would pay to wait until….” His voice trailed off, a grotesque image entering his mind—Kristopher lying on the floor of the Kaffeehaus, his fair hair stained red with the blood dripping from a single bullet hole to the temple. Michel quickly pushed it away. Holm needed Kristopher. He wouldn’t risk killing him. Elise could be used to ensure Kristopher’s cooperation. It made more sense that they were both still alive.
“I don’t care.” Matt’s previous calm was replaced by an edge of desperation that made him both unpredictable and dangerous. “I’m not just sitting here and waiting. To hell with procedure.”
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.
Dreamspinner Press Author Page:
DSP Publications Author Page: