Enter Contests, it matters!

This was originally posted in August 2008, but the content is even more important now with thousands of new books being published every year and the list of contests is growing as well.

Back in June 2008, we had just won our 2nd IPPY Gold Medal in the Canada:West category of the Independent Publisher Contest and we were very excited. The book was our latest novel, Whispers Across Time plus my first co-authorship with my husband. In November we co-authored our 4th book. Whispers was such a fun (and complicated) book to write and edit but, nevertheless, fans were congratulating us even before the award. Once the announcements were made and the award arrived, boy, did it attract sales with that rather wonderfully huge, shiny gold medal sitting on the stand!! I gotta tell you, if you are a writer and self-publish your book, you just have to do the best job possible on it and enter it into this contest or any other one that fits your genre. Check the early-bird entry dates to save yourself some money! Trust me … an award does matter! Seven years has now passed and we’ve needed extra printings of both these books.  We’ve also recently sent our new novel, Silent Destiny, into the same contest to try our luck/expertise again. This time we’re in the Europe Category, Main Category and Ebook Category.

As usual with one of my husband, J. Robert Whittle’s novels, anything that sparks public interest will make them more popular. As with our other novels … there is a romance in this book, with no sex … it’s time travel but that’s our avenue to show you some more history. It’s also a ghost story although it’s not scary in the least! It’s also very suitable for teen readers and parents recommend it heartily! We have fantastic fans who are great with word-of-mouth … if only we could get them to write more reviews 🙂

Where Robert got this idea of writing a time-travel story, I believe it was based on my brief discussion with him of one of Diana Gabaldon’s books which I had read years before (when I had time for fun reading!). We had never seen a time-travel or ghost movie, and he had not read a book of that subject but somehow his amazing imagination brought us purely magical content … said his fans!

It just goes to show that when you’re a writer you shouldn’t put yourself into a box and not think you are incapable of something, you just never know. My husband says his books write themselves … and he just lets it happen with amazing results. When you start in later life, you need all the help you can get!

I am having so much fun co-writing with my husband and although we don’t do it together, we seem to have worked out the perfect methodology in our 10-year publishing/writing career. Can’t believe it will be ten years in December. So much has happened, so much has been achieved AND so much joy has been brought to people’s lives – we hear about it everyday. Somehow that makes all the effort worthwhile.

If you haven’t tried one of our books and are curious, check out our website links in the green list at right or here You won’t find them in your bookstore unless you live near Victoria, BC but we ship our books all over the world. Fans say our books make great gifts for any age and our books are so well made by our printer (Friesens) we never hear that they have fallen apart and, trust me, they are read and reread. They are totally family friendly and are used in schools and by homeschoolers.

Now, I’ve gotta get back to work, I have a book to finish for Christmas 🙂
Thanks for visiting … see you next time.

Writing ‘Silent Destiny’

Stirling Castle & Wallace MemorialIn brief … the story of  Silent Destiny travels to many parts of Scotland and, not surprisingly, also into Yorkshire. Whittle, athough a Yorkshireman, knew virtually nothing about Scotland before he discovered that my paternal lineage held a great deal of fascinating Scottish history. I didn’t even realize how Stirling Castle (at left) was going to fit into mine or William Wallace’s story when I snapped this amazing photo in April 2002. Amazing because the William Wallace National Monument managed to get into this photo (far left) without me knowing it existed! It’s also a slightly different view of our book cover.

My Sandilands ancestors, without a doubt, would have been living in Lanarkshire, not far south of Elderslie (believed by many to be Wallace’s home ground), during these tortured times leading up to and during the Scottish Wars of Independence. My family were aligned with the Douglas family, and also a Sept of Clan Douglas, but I can’t be sure how it all began. History has not given up its secrets prior to the early 14th century when Sir William Douglas apparently named us after the “sandy banks of the Clyde River” which enters from the sea near Glasgow and meanders through Lanarkshire County.

The editing process, always my favourite part of this job coupled with my usual hat of being co-author was a wonderful challenge but I certainly needed more time. I (Joyce), unlike Robert, have instant access to the internet. Many nights I sat here writing about travelling around Scotland and had both a streetmap and Google Earth open to assist me in making the travelogue more realistic. Editing/co-writing Robert’s books has naturally always been my favourite part of this business but this time, I also had the challenge of writing my own history. Until I received Robert’s manuscript on my computer, I had no idea what he was writing. When I realized he had included the Hospitallers and Torphichen Priority, I was thrilled. It was my opportunity to add even more history than he had planned because I felt our readers would want to know more than a teasing bit of history! I appreciated that not all our readers are going to be up on their Scottish history!

King Robert I

King Robert I

The whole book was actually more complicated than I had anticipated (being his usual intertwined style but also because I was out of practice lol It was five years since I had worked on a novel and due to so many factual scenes of very old history (up to and including my 13x great grandfather, Robert the Bruce at left), I had more of a challenge ahead of me than I could have dreamed.

It all sort of snowballed on me and was reminiscent of Robert’s research for the Victoria Chronicles Trilogy … he had all these dates and events to fit into his story. It was also similar, to the style of the Lizzie Series … with her many adventures fitting around other exciting parts of the story. Makes me tired thinking back on all that work!!

Starting to read Silent Destiny in late 2013, I soon realized that was a mistake as Christmas Craft Shows were going to take up all my spare time and energy until the new year. So, by November 2014 after working on it night and day since January 2014, I had the uncanny thought that this was paralleling my initial challenge of publishing our first book, Lizzie: Lethal Innocence … it arrived into the stores on December 8, 1998. I was only slightly ahead of that schedule for Silent Destiny, and I apologize for keeping you all waiting. I hope the wait is worth it!

On behalf of Robert and I, thanks for your patience and your continued support.

Joyce Sandilands Whittle

 

Silent Destiny: An ancient Scottish mystery/prophecy

Silent DestinyAn ancient legend and a 700-year-old prophecy join to tell the story of William Wallace, his family and some missing relics, in our latest novel, Silent Destiny. Purchase your own copy here at our online STORE … there’s also an option to pay online and then pick up your copy from our office, if you live near Victoria BC!

This is a novel of Scotland and two of it’s most devastating historical failures … the horrendous loss of a great patriot and hero, William Wallace, and the ancient story of the missing Scottish Royal Regalia last possessed by Alexander III. This king’s untimely and accidental death, when his horse strayed off a cliff in the darkness as the King hurried home to see his new bride, was unfortunate in so many ways. Scotland was immediately thrown into turmoil as it tried desperately to find an heir. but war ensued and lasted for many years. Through this period known as the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Royal crown and other artifacts were nowhere to be found. There were suspicions about who held them, but that was merely hearsay and despite many searches over the next 700 years, they were not found.

Fast forward to 2006 … 700 years later when our main character, a Canadian English Professor, Emma Walters, is summoned to Scotland to learn details of an ancient title and estate she is purported to have inherited through her deceased father … the father who rarely even spoke of his Scottish past.  Emma’s story, for our purposes, begins that fateful morning in November 2006 when a Scottish solicitor telephone and informs her she must hurry to Scotland if she wishes to claim her Scottish birthright. She is shocked but curious and decides to at least check it out. She will soon discover that many mysteries surround this old estate. But the information which interests her the most is that of the missing artifacts … the Scottish Royal Regalia last held by William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace after he defeated the English at Stirling Bridge and was bestowed with the title of Guardian. Miss Walters has only days to make up her mind and her new ‘assistant’ Alex Wallace only adds to her confusion when she discovers he is holding back information and seems to have an unexplained personal interest in the estate.

More information on our Silent Destiny page and our Facebook Page.

Check our Stores Tab above for locations in the Victoria area which carry our books or order direct from our Store where the authors receive all of the funds from their sales.

The authors will be selling all their books at Summer Markets in 2015 … go to the Events Tab for dates and schedules.

‘Lizzie Series’ still popular

LizzieSrs_white bgFans of bestselling Victoria BC author, J. Robert Whittle, who have read his Victoria Chronicles Trilogy and his single novels, often don’t realize he wrote an earlier popular series, Lizzie. Looking for more reading material while they wait for Robert to write another book, many discovered the Lizzie Series set in early 19th century England during the trying and sad years of the Napoleonic Wars. Within 5 years of the arrival of the first book in the Victoria Chronicles, Lizzie was overshadowed by the author’s trilogy full of real local history.  Then with 10 novels out by 2010, thankfully, we saw the beginning of a resurgence in Lizzie’s popularity. In recent years, due to Robert’s health and realizing we had too large a stock of some books, we later temporarily reduced the price to $15 ea. (including GST). Even today, there are many readers who still ask Robert to write more books in the series because they love the antics of the main characters so much.

The Lizzie Series has seen popularity with both adults and teens (or younger), male as well as female). It is also a  little-known fact that the character of Lizzie, a spunky pre-teen, possesses a personality which closely mirrors that of the author as a child when he too, was a young  entrepreneur. Just look into his bright blue eyes and you’ll still see the sparkle of that childhood innocence!!

We are told that first-time authors often write about their own experiences … did this author follow that pattern? Friends and readers who get to know him, will admit that Robert definitely possesses a strong personality, has an answer for everyone, and lets absolutely nothing intimidate him, just like Lizzie … and we still often see whispers of that young-at-heart man in the still-cheeky 83-year-old!

If this sounds like the type of main character you love to read about, then you will love the Lizzie Series. So go and check out Lizzie’s webpage right now before you forget!

* The Lizzie Series is available in paperback on this website, on Amazon, Kindle and in all other ebook formats at  Smashwords.com.

Books, eBooks and Links

Here are some interesting book links I found recently. I haven’t checked them out thoroughly so make up your own mind on their value!

New York Times – Jacketcopy Blog

It has an interesting survey of ebook readers and Kobo was ahead of Kindle. Way to go Canada!

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BookGlutton – share your opinions with other book readers

Writer’s Digest – always a popular favourite

Auxilary Memory – a blog entry about online bookclubs and cataloguing your own library.

… and, of course …

Goodreads – an Amazon affiliate where you can vote on our books!

‘Leprechaun Magic’ gets a new cover

2011-03 LM_new coverI decided in my wisdom to update the Leprechaun Magic cover for the next printing. We have sold a couple thousand copies and I felt it needed a new more modern look, especially as I considered my crude moonbeam just that rather crude! So, the new print run arrived early this summer just in time for the main onslaught? of tourists.

Simone Padur, our wonderfully talented illustrator on Book 2, ‘3 On A Moonbeam’ came to our rescue once again and has produced a cute and colourful new Paddy sliding down the moonbeam and arriving on our Earth-child’s windowsill. We love it … thanks Simone!

It’s actually been on our market stands for three months and causing a lot of interest including …

Have to read right now

… this cute little 3-year-old fan whose identity shall remain anonymous. She and her grandmother, one of our biggest fans, visited me most weeks out in Sidney at the street market. One day in August, this cute-as-a-button granddaughter, decided to make herself comfortable!! Yes, she’s lying on the street ‘reading’ aloud and carefully turning the pages. Then she goes and gets another book, even the novels; her Grandma says she has favourites among them, too!

I can’t wait until she gets older and can review and tell all her friends about our books! Grandma took this photo and has allowed us to use it. Thanks Grandma!!

Yes, we’re on eBooks!

This post has been copied from the Newsletter Page on our main website at www.jrobertwhittle.com

HOT NEWS!!   EBOOKS … EBOOKS … yes, ALL OUR books are available as ebooks at Amazon/Kindle (USA, UK and Germany) and Smashwords.com (includes Kindle but here they are DRM free). Also available at your favourite ebook store (Kobo, iPad etc.).

Yes, the big news in books these days are eBooks and we are continually being asked if our books are available as eBooks. The answer is YES and we are seeing ebook sales increasing every month, especially via Kindle! The wonderful part is that readers are now able to afford to purchase more than one book … our ebooks are all under $8 and sometimes we offer specials through Smashwords and our Facebook pages (see TIP below).

Formatting all our books for eReaders was Joyce and Tara’s project for 2010/11 and we’re happy to announce Kindle and Smashwords have them all. Smashwords has more up-to-date files as Joyce reads them again herself and tweaks those minor errors that are now easier/less costly to correct than on a printed book.

facebook_logo TIP: Visit our facebook author pages for regular news and updates. Our profiles are public so you can see them even if you aren’t on facebook.
J. Robert Whittle or Joyce Sandilands

* A note on Kindle purchases … GREAT NEWS … Kindle is now giving us full commission for all purchases from Canada and UK … as Amazon bows to pressure from International authors, we are thrilled to be able to make it easier for our Kindle customers!

I have owned my own KOBO ebook Reader (Chapters Brand) since March ’11 so I can speak from experience on this subject.  I simply love my Kobo, but it did have some issues early on and I was thankfully able to replace it with the new Kobo Touch which arrived in June. It’s a lot easier to read in bed now (no heavy books) and so easy to turn the page (you touch it very lightly). I even have several books on the go at the same time for the first time in my life. I have now read 3 novels which I would never have done by carrying a book around with me! I never waste time in a doctor’s office etc. anymore … it’s great!

Everything about the New Kobo Touch is superior to the earlier model. They have done a great job. I rarely get time during the day to read, but I have everything from novels (our own included which I have never had time to re-read!), business books, motivational books etc., and with the Touch, it always leaves you the last 5 book covers to easily open next time you turn it on.  It bookmarks your page so it opens to that page when you open each book.

This is also the solution for LARGE PRINT … people are discovering eReaders due to their ability to enlarge the text size and change the font, making it just right for people who previously needed large print books (I make mine larger too). So much easier to hold instead of a heavy book for my arthritic fingers.

Did You Know … you don’t have to own an eBook Reader … there are many FREE programs and Apps. available for computer, Smart Phones and iPods. One I recently discovered is Bookworm for all ePUB formats (not for Kindle). Kindle has their own FREE eReader. Adobe Digital Additions is great and free for ePub versions as well. I also recently found out about the iPod App for Kindle which a friend uses.