Friday, February 22, 2013

Ragnar the Murderer by Lily Byrne

How I got published

It’s said that everyone has a book inside them: why not take a chance and put yours out there?

In 2010, I did just that. I’m not boasting, I just thought if I told other aspiring writers how I did it, it might help and inspire them.

I had been writing novels for years, but was too nervous to show them to anyone. Then I found the perfect place to practise writing, where I would be supported and encouraged: a fan fiction site!

I chose a ‘Home and Away’ site, as at the time I was an avid fan of that series, and started writing: what I wished would happen, or part of the story or characters that I didn't see enough of onscreen.

Other fans gave constructive criticism and I could hone my writing skills— plots, characters, dialogue, descriptions—for as long as I wanted. There were some excellent critics on that site and other sites, which really boosted my confidence.

Then I wrote my original story. My advice about that is to write what is in your heart, what you want to say. The rule is… there is no rule! Don't try and write to a formula that you have been told publishers want, or the public want, or what will sell.

Once I’d written my story, I looked around the web for publishers. There are so many independent publishing companies springing up who ask for ‘innovative, off beat’ stories. Fresh, brave writing is becoming popular. Your novel can be any length as there are many categories of story lengths: novel, novella, novelette. Mine range from 19 to 40 thousand words (novellas).

Apart from traditional publishers, there are also many sites where authors upload their book—either complete or part of it—and the other members comment on it. 
Some I found were Authonomy, YouWriteOn, Scribophile, Slush Pile Reader. There must be more sites, just use a search engine to find them. I loaded up my novel onto all of these and received some good constructive criticism.

Then, I discovered a website called Night Publishing*, to which authors uploaded their first chapters only. Every month there was a poll and the other authors voted for the best chapter, which was then published along with the rest of the book. And some books were ‘cherry picked’ by the site owners each month, and also published.

And that is how I did it. My novella, ‘Descending’, was published in July 2010, followed by the sequel, ‘Surfacing’, in November.

I changed genre in 2011 to write historical romances: the Viking saga ‘Ragnar the Murderer’, ‘Ragnar and the Slave Girls’ and ‘Ragnar the Just’ and Victorian duology, ‘The Jewel of Maythwaite Manor’ and ‘The Errant Necklace’.

*Night Publishing has now expanded and become Taylor Street Books, a traditional publisher. But Authonomy, YouWriteOn, Scribophile and Slush Pile Reader still exist in the same form.

February 15 Interview
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February 19 Spotlight
Reviewing in Chaos   

February 22 Guest blog
Roxanne’s Realm

February 23 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

February 25 Guest blog
Lisa’s World of Books

February 26 Spotlight
Sapphyria's Book Reviews 

February 27 Guest blog

February 28 Spotlight
Secret Southern Couture

March 1 Interview and review
Always a Booklover –

Ragnar the Murderer
Lily Byrne

Publisher: Taylor Street Books

ISBN: 13: 978-1463698379

Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 40,000

A tale of love and treachery.

It is a time of uneasy truce, of two races living side-by-side, inter-marrying even, but forever on the look out  for treachery among their neighbors.

They meet, they bathe together and they consort. Life is short, fun is likely to be brief, and opportunity has to be seized wherever it can be found without unleashing long-held rivalries and carnage.

Then the youthful Dane, Ragnar, falls in love with Aelfwyn the Angle who is already promised by duty to one of her own village.

Ragnar and Aelfwyn's passionate love affair is a secret which will never be hidden for long, but theirs is not the 
only secret around.

When Ragnar finds himself charged with murder, he and Aelfwyn are forcibly parted. But is Ragnar really a  cold-blooded, cynical killer or is there a more sinister plot being played out?

Lily Byrne

I faffed around at writing for many years until I had my daughter, but becoming a mum seemed to kick start something in me: I realised that I now had a purpose and time was limited, so I must get on with it.

The winter of 2009 was severe and as I and my family live in a small village, we were house bound by unusually deep snow for southern England. So I settled down in my office (i.e. the corner of our bedroom) and began my first book, which was published in 2010.

I haven’t stopped writing since. I go through phases of planning my story, writing furiously, or editing it. It is much easier now my daughter is at school and I get a few hours of work done each day.

My daughter has truly been an inspiration to me: she has had severe health problems in her short life but is always smiling and laughing, planning for the future, full of ideas. Working at home writing and editing has been ideal, I love my life.


Catherine said...

Thanks for featuring me, Roxanne! :)