Catching up with Rosemary Kind!

RJK - headshot 2015

I just had to ask you back when I realised that it was Alfie’s birthday, Rosemary!

It is now five years since I started the short story download arm of Alfie Dog Fiction. Over that time I’ve had the privilege to work with many hundreds of talented authors and read quite literally thousands of stories. For some well-established authors we are the publisher they turn to for republication of their stories, but we have also been responsible for launching the careers of many new writers and I don’t say that lightly. It has been a privilege to work on stories for talented authors who have gone on to be very successful, either with their stories or novels. Many have told us that we have helped them on the way, giving them direction in some cases and in others simply the confidence that their work is good.

We realised with the resources we had available that it was not possible to grow the site exponentially and, in reality, that wasn’t what our readers wanted. What readers wanted to see was new stories regularly, but in place of, rather than as well as, all the old ones. We’ve worked with authors to achieve this and in the recent submission window selected around 60 new stories which are going live on the site over the coming weeks. It will give us a current total of around 325 authors and 1600 short stories to choose between.

Another more recent development has been a number of our book titles being made into audio books. So far this has included four novels and one short story collection, but we’re looking at further titles being added to the selection shortly.

Over the five years, we’ve brought out quite a significant number of book titles and there are currently 34 out in paperback or ebook.

What will the next five years hold? It’s always hard to say. One of the beauties of being a small organisation is that we can change easily and take opportunities that are presented. We have more books due out in the coming months and more short stories. At the outset we created the site because we believed in the medium of the short story. That remains as true now as it did five years ago.

If you would like to help us celebrate then this is what will be happening:

May 16th – June 20th A special feature of some of the best stories from our original authors http://alfiedog.com/fiction/featured/

May 16th onwards – five stories half price for five weeks – with stories changing weekly http://alfiedog.com/fiction/sale/

June 11th: You are very welcome to join our fifth birthday then you will be very welcome to join our ‘On-line birthday party’. We will be having party games and there will be prizes. You may need to bring your own cake as that’s harder to send out over the internet! The party is on Sunday June 11th from 7pm to 9pm UK time and you can find it HERE

Jun 13th onwards – five books free for download for five days each. For details of these offers see our Facebook page, Twitter @AlfieDogLimited , or Newsletter

Best wishes
Ros Kind

Co-author of  – From Story Idea to Reader – an accessible guide to writing fiction

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Thank you for the update and for accepting seven of my stories!

I wish you every continued success.

New book launch!

To Love, Honour and Obey

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To Love Honour And Obey

1805

Six years ago, Willoughby Rossington’s father was murdered while searching for the kingpin of a smuggling and spy ring. Taken under the wing of his uncle, who is running a counter-intelligence operation against Napoleon’s spies, Willoughby is assigned to take up his father’s last mission—and, hopefully, in the process find who killed his father and bring them to justice.

He encounters a young woman, Beth, who works at the local inn. Her spark and resilience against her master’s attempts to break her will strike a chord in him and he, albeit reluctantly, takes her with him when he leaves town.

As they begin to talk, he finds out that her master is more involved in the ring that could have been thought. She overheard things and knows things about the seedy side of villages that could be helpful to him and his mission.

Though Beth hasn’t had the opportunity for education, she’s smart and quite cunning while still maintaining a child-like wonder. Even as Willoughby makes plans to set her up with a family in order to protect her from the perils of his mission, he finds himself a bit melancholy at the thought of losing her company.

Beth is having none of it. She knows she can be of help to Willoughby and isn’t going to be left behind now that she’s found someone nice. Part on purpose, partly because of fate, their two lives become intertwined as they race against the villains that plot to destroy them both.

Will they uncover the truth behind the smuggling ring and find who is responsible for Willoughby’s father’s death?

 

The future of romance with Pia Fenton

I would like to welcome back Pia Fenton to my blog (Christina Courtenay) who has been the RNA Chair for nearly two years.

Hi Pia!

NEC front LatestAs Valentine’s Day approaches can you share with us some of the major changes you have seen in the last couple of years within the world of romance?

I don’t think the world of romance has changed very much, but rather the publishing industry as a whole.  With the advent of ebooks and ereaders (and especially the Kindle which had a massive impact the year it was first launched in the UK), the way people read books has changed enormously in a very short space of time.  Things seem to have settled down a bit now though and paperbacks are holding their own, which is great (I love proper books myself!), but I think ebooks have given both readers and authors more freedom to read/write what they like.

As for the books themselves, the popularity of certain sub-genres come and go, but editors and agents are always saying they’re just looking for really good stories.  I think that if a story is gripping enough, it doesn’t matter what it’s about – good story-telling is key.

Are you excited about the future of romance as a genre?

Yes, I think it’s going from strength to strength.  The RNA commissioned some research into sales and trends recently, and it showed that figures for romantic fiction are going up year by year, which is fantastic.  People will always want love in their lives and I’m sure they will continue to want to read about it too.

You have branched into the Young Adult market. Could you share with us the inspiration for this exciting new venture?

I discovered a while back that I love reading YA fiction – it’s an amazing sub-genre where imagination seems to have no bounds.  Then I went to a high school reunion and it really made me think about my own teenage years, both all the fun I had and the angst that comes with being that age.  I attended an American high school for three years, which was a bit of a culture clash to begin with and it occurred to me that it would be fun to write a series of books with UK heroines and US heroes and so the Northbrooke High series was born.  I have now self-published the second book in the series, New England Crush.

What is next for Pia/Christina?

I have just finished edits for the third book in my Japanese trilogy – sequel to The Scarlet Kimono and The Gilded Fan – which is due out in paperback in August this year.  I’ve also started work on a new time slip novel, which is based on the final few months of the English civil war.  I love that period in history and was inspired to write about it as there are several ruined castles, destroyed during that time, near where I live. (Both these books are for adults, not YA).

More from Pia:

Discovering Ellie

Discovering Ellie KECBuy and read now!

US Readers: Kindle / iTunes / Nook / Kobo

UK Readers: Kindle / iTunes / Nook / Kobo

Early nineteenth century North Yorkshire, England.

Ellie has recurring nightmares, always waking to a life devoid of love, but still she dreams. Living in the old hall with her Aunt Gertrude and cousins Cybil and Jane, the scandal of her mother’s elopement with a Frenchman cast a long shadow over her life. Until Mr William Cookson arrives to shine new light onto her past opening the way to an exciting future…

Phoebe’s Challenge

Phoebe's Challenge KEC (1)

Buy and read now!

US Readers: Kindle / iTunes / Nook

UK Readers: Kindle / iTunes / Nook

Early nineteenth century North Yorkshire, England.

Phoebe and her brother, Thomas, have to flee the evil regime of overseer Benjamin Bladderwell because an accident results in them being labelled machine breakers. Hunted with nowhere to run, the mysterious wagon driver, Matthew, his them and saves their lives. They soon discover that he is a man of many guises who Phoebe instinctively trusts, but Thomas does not. Their future depends upon this stranger, on their own they will be captured or starve. Phoebe must trust or challenge Matthew unaware that he is also tied to their past.

An interview with Pia Fenton, a.k.a. Christina Courtenay

ChristinaCourtenayMarch2013I am delighted to welcome award-winning author and new chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Pia Fenton, who writes as Christina Courtenay.

Congratulations on becoming the chair of the RNA. How much of an influence has the RNA had on your own career?
I think it’s safe to say that without the RNA I wouldn’t be published at all!  I found my way to the association at a time when I was about to give up on writing and it changed everything for me.  When I sent in my first m/s to the New Writers’ Scheme and got a critique back from someone who took my writing seriously and liked what I’d done, it was an amazing feeling.  And although there was a lot wrong with that first novel, I was basically on the right track and needed to be told what my mistakes were, so that was really helpful.  The other thing the RNA has done for me is give me wonderful writing friends and critique partners – I can never thank them enough!

Childhood is a time when imaginations really develop. Do you think that yours influenced your writing style and interests?

 Yes, absolutely.  I was hooked on fairy tales with handsome princes and happy ever afters and that’s what I want now too, albeit a grown up version.  I was also always interested in history, so for me writing historicals was inevitable.

Would you agree that your work reflects your unique cross-cultural experience?

I think so, yes, as most of my books feature heroes and heroines from different cultures who have to overcome their differences and realise that we are all the same underneath.  Also that no one culture is necessarily right about everything, we have to compromise.  Being half Swedish and half English I can see things from two sides, and having lived abroad has given me a different perspective on things as well.

Could you give us an insight into your own preferred way of working when you set out on a new novel adventure?

It’s a bit messy I’m afraid!  It usually starts with a scene that appears in my head, often triggered by something or someone (a handsome actor?) and then the rest of the story develops from there.  That scene can be anywhere in the book, so sometimes I work backwards, sometimes forwards.  As I said, it’s a bit chaotic but somehow it always works out in the end!  And incidentally, I always know how I want it to end, even if I don’t know anything else.

In August your first YA novel is published by Choc Lit. Could you tell us about it and if this is a permanent change of direction for you?

As I’d been writing historicals for many years, with all the research that entails, I decided to give myself permission to write something else just for fun last year.  The result was a contemporary YA book that needed no research and reflected the sort of high school experience I would have liked to have had myself.  Here is the blurb for New England Rocks:-

NER FrontFirst impressions, how wrong can you get?

When Rain Mackenzie is expelled from her British boarding school, she can’t believe her bad luck. Not only is she forced to move to New England, USA, she’s also sent to the local high school, as a punishment.
Rain makes it her mission to dislike everything about Northbrooke High, but what she doesn’t bank on is meeting Jesse Devlin…
Jesse is the hottest guy Rain’s ever seen and he plays guitar in an awesome rock band!
There’s just one small problem …  Jesse already has a girlfriend, little miss perfect Amber Lawrence, who looks set to cause trouble as Rain and Jesse grow closer.
But, what does it matter? New England sucks anyway, and Rain doesn’t plan on sticking around…
Does she?

I hadn’t intended to send it to my publisher, but eventually I did and Choc Lit decided they wanted to start a YA line, which was great!  I’ve since allowed myself some more time off from the historicals, so this is the first in a series.  The second one will hopefully be out next year.  But I’ll still be writing historicals and time slips as well.

What is next for Christina Courtenay?

I’ve just finished writing the third book in the Kinross trilogy, Monsoon Mists.  It’s gone off to Choc Lit to see if it passes muster, so now I can concentrate on something else for a while.  In February next year I have another time slip novel coming out, The Secret Kiss of Darkness – I love time slips, so am very excited about that – and as I said, after that hopefully number two in the YA series.

Sincerest thanks for taking the time to complete this interview.

Thank you very much for inviting me!

More by Christina:

  • New England Rocks, paperback out on 7th August:-