So we’re all in it for the money

Writers are rich, right? It’s okay to steal books and therefore sales from them because publishers and writers are all ‘rolling in it’. They’ve got a cushy life, work from home, can roll out of bed when they want in the morning, type a few words on a page and their work for the day is done.

I won’t post a long discussion on how many ways these beliefs are so wrong when someone has already done it for me; check out this article:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jul/08/authors-incomes-collapse-alcs-survey

Categories: Writing | Leave a comment

Here be Dragons!

I’ve appropriately returned from Cornwall, a well known county of legend. This week I’ve had the final edit for my next Space, 1889 offering, The Draco Eye, and one cannot get more legendary than the creature that inhabits Jupiter. Blurb coming soon, along with more writing news. In the meantime, enjoy my fabulous cover:

dracoMEDIUM

Categories: News | Leave a comment

A Difficult Choice to Make

I have a difficult choice to make. With a view to writing a third title in a series, I decided to read through the first two. I won’t say which series here and now, but a few readers would be pleased to hear this, and may even guess. My ‘plan’ immediately changed momentum for the simple reason that my writing has changed. Yes, hand on heart, I’ve improved. It’s a strange experience to look at an older work, spot mistakes. It’s also heartening. I can see how I’m so much better now.

The moment I started reading the first title I realised these books need an edit. My immediate decision was I would edit the first two titles as I read and then speed right into compiling the third. So that’s what I’m doing — barring other edits I’m awaiting and a short break I’m going to take soon, this is my WIP.

My next problem will be…once it’s done, what do I do with it next? I’ve just renewed the contract for the second book so I can’t do much of anything for a year, although the first title’s contract will be up for renewal before then. As far as I can see I have several choices open to me:

  • I can leave the two titles ‘as is’ with the publisher,  submit the third and just let them continue. But this begs the question do I want two good but slightly imperfect books to continue to represent me?
  • I can speak to the existing publisher about a re-issue with all three books.
  • I can approach a new publisher will all three books.
  • I can self-publish.

Then I come to the matter of print. Readers have asked for these books in print. If I self-publish, obviously I can provide them in print and e-book. Or I can discuss this possibility of print with perspective publishers, or look for one that provides this opportunity.

Fortunately, I have time to think. My first goal has to be editing and writing and having three complete manuscripts, whilst trying to ignore that little internal nagging voice that keeps rabbiting, “What shall I do? What shall I do?”

If anyone has a clue…fill me in. *laughing*

Categories: Writing | 2 Comments

Is it Summer Yet Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to the ‘Is it Summer Yet?’ Blog Hop courtesy of Julie’s Book Review.

10425658_900888576591705_1157062382_nI spent some time re-branding this site a couple of weeks ago. I call myself a multi-genre author, meaning I write as I read — anything and everything.

This isn’t altogether a good thing. It’s next to impossible to get a reader to follow across brands. There are readers out there, like me, who fall for any story that catches our interest, be it because I already know the work of the writer, or the cover grabs my attention. Or maybe the title, or the blurb, or I’m picking up something owing to someone’s recommendation. If I like a writer I tend to stick with them so if they switch genres, I’ve no problem with that and will trail right along. Even when a writer I love seems to lose whatever it is about their work I used to favour, I tend to remain loyal; it takes a lot for me to give up. I’m a collector.

Alas, I’m the same with my writing — my muse has a wandering interest. It’s not impossible to be a multi-genre writer, but it’s harder. It provides a wealth of story ideas, but makes the job to build a fan base more difficult. I decided I had to consider what I really wanted to write, and at least give people who stumble across my website a better idea. I settled on Writer of Dark and Light Fiction.

My romances tend to be in the GLBT category, and can be completely light and humourous, or deep and dark whether it’s paranormal, or some personal battle a character is going through. This is no more apparent than my latest title with Musa Publishing: Hard Pressed, which is both an Editor’s Top Pick, and a nomination for this year’s Rainbow Awards. I’m offering a copy to one lucky commenter here so read on below, and I will announce a winner at the end of the Hop.

***

hardpressed-200When one man has the worst of reputations and believes any misfortune befalling him is deserved, it’s hard to feel worthy of love. Can absolution arrive in three little words?

Journalist, Phillip Drake, is beginning to doubt the career he’s chosen, his motivation, his whole existence. Despite attempting a change of direction, his paper has informed him that’s not the sort of reporting they want. When an assignment arises — to trail up and coming, and coming out, actor, Gary Caldwell, he’s well aware it’s his duty to dig for dirt…and when Caldwell seems less than co-operative, Phillip half-convinces himself he’ll be happy to do so.

For Gary, the interaction is surprising — Drake is not all that he seems. Despite trying to be cautious, Gary has always been attracted to the reporter and finds it difficult to maintain a distance. Something is going on with Drake — not least of all the surprising revelation when Gary realises Drake is gay, and the attraction is mutual.

After an intimate encounter, Drake disappears and Gary sets out to unravel a mystery that not only involves tracking down the reporter’s whereabouts, but may also explain why Drake has done the things he has, why Drake harbours more than a little self-hate and more than emotional scars, and why the one thing Drake doesn’t believe he deserves — love — is the one thing he’s worthy of.

***

My non-romance work seems to contain a dark thread, be it horror, or crime, or even gothic with erotic elements, but I’m willing to try anything a little different. When approached to write for the steampunk series, Space, 1889 and beyond…how could I refuse?

***

fistfulSMALL

Phobos, fearful son of Mars. A moon often likened to a diseased potato…but is there more to the legends surrounding the satellite than mere rumour? Drawn to Mars as part of a covert mission the team of the Esmeralda 2 are waylaid by Sir Henry Routledge, governor-general of Syrtis Major. Although at first reluctant to take on an additional mission — a search for a missing man — they change their minds upon hearing one Henry Barnsdale-Stevens has gone missing on Phobos, the mysterious moon of Mars that many say inspires fear.

The explorers set out for Phobos believing they may well find the minerals they’ve been looking for, and save a man’s life. Another myth calls to them — the strange monolith that rises from Phobos’ surface…but does it extend below? The team discover this is not an ill-formed ‘bit of rock’, nor a remnant of the Stickney crater impact. It’s much more mysterious and marvellous for there are words and drawings on the stone.

What secrets does Phobos conceal, and why does it inspire dread? Will the team manage to survive long enough to find the answers? Their descent beneath the surface may lead to the most amazing discoveries yet.

***

So let’s talk about genre. What do you love/loathe? Write? Read? Why? Anything you have to say on genre, sticking to one or writing several, say it below before you hop to another blog. And a big thank you for dropping by.

 

And the winner issssssss

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 09.40.33

…Mindy. However, summer is imminent and I’m feeling generous so I want to give away a special award to Jim for the best comment I’ve received in a long while. I’ll be in touch.

Categories: Event, Writing | 12 Comments

Amazed to be so Pleased

Writers’ emotions fluctuate. It happens during the writing of a story — as we imagine what our characters must be feeling, we suffer with them. It happens when we start a story, when we finish it. There’s that heady rush of let’s get started with this new and great idea, and sometimes we’re elated when the story is flowing or there’s a grind as we struggle through the middle. Then we get another glow when the first draft is finished. During personal edits there’s the delight when we think ‘this bit is good’, the crushing blow when we realise a chapter not only sucks, but blows too.

We finally polish a manuscript to what we imagine is perfection and submit it to then receive rejection or acceptance, and even if things go our way, and the book finds a home, we open first round edits with trepidation, alternatively cheering or sobbing over the changes our editors want. Once published, we then have to decide whether to read and/or take on board any comments made by critics and reviewers. We feel it all.

Writers are plagued — by joy, by frustration, by self-doubt, and a whole plethora of emotions too many to mention here.

Imagine my delight, therefore, when I came to edit Hard Pressed. There were errors — I won’t fool you, Dear Reader, or myself over that. I wanted to scream and rant because the good AND the bad news was my mistakes were stupid things I should have spotted. So, an easy fix, though I couldn’t work out why I hadn’t seen them and said to my editor I must have been wearing blinkers. What was I thinking? Mostly, it was a case of repeated words, phrases, too many sentences starting the same way. I know to look for these things so why didn’t I see them? Maybe because I had worked so hard to figure out my MC (Main Character) and getting the most important part of the book right — what was going on in his life, and why he deserved love. Because the book was good and my editor loved it so much as to make it a Top Pick, I was not entirely disheartened. I felt stupid, but not put out. I had created no plot holes, and no major mistakes.

This week I picked up a romance I drafted last year and which I have to get around to submitting somewhere. I had intended to do this far sooner in the year, but I’ve been working on other projects. I like to let my work ‘sit’. Doing so allows me to view it with a fresh eye, but it’s also a strange experience. When I come across something good, there’s this almost odd detachment from it for me, as if I can’t quite believe I created a good character, or a good story, or got ‘that little bit’ — yes, that bit, right there — just right.

This draft wasn’t as difficult as Hard Pressed to write, but I wouldn’t call it easy, and yet I was surprised. The style is all mine, is just ‘there’ — I can see where it’s developed over time and how it continues to do so. The story flows, and apart from a few tweaks, I’ve not found much to change. I draft in Scrivener so once I’m through with this read-through I will export it to re-read in another format. It will receive one or two more edits before I submit it, and I admit I’ve not reached the end yet, so I may still find some glaring faux pas lying in wait, but today…

Today, I’m experiencing an emotion I wish would last and last and last: I am completely amazed to be so pleased.

Categories: Writing | 2 Comments

Update April 2014

Hi Everyone!

Long time no news, but so much to tell.

First of all, I’ve given my website a bit of an overhaul. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I write and what I actually want to do. Branding is everything in this business and, unfortunately, the one thing holding me back is that I don’t write one specific thing. As inspiration wise, I don’t seem to be able to do a lot about this, I thought I needed to at least narrow it down. Looking through my work, where my non-romance work is concerned much of it seems to contain a dark thread, so I thought I should focus on that. My romance work isn’t always light but compared to my short stories it is. Simply I’ve dropped ‘Aonia’ and rebranded the site as Writer of Dark & Light Fiction. It at least gives people an idea what they are looking at when they wander by. I’ve also separated my writing into two — non-romance as Sharon Bidwell, and romance as Sharon Maria Bidwell. I really am testing out the temperature of some new waters, but I’ve an idea of where I’d like my non-romance stuff to go and will be following that dark path to see where it goes.

On that note, maybe not quite ‘dark’ as I’d like, but I have discovered an interest in Steampunk, and I’ve been commissioned to write for season three of Space 1889. I also got to choose which in the series I wanted to write so that will be book two. Upon reading the outline for this season, I decided it was the story I was most likely to be able to pull off and also being number two I get the book out of the way sooner rather than later, but there is, I have to admit, a certain pressure to being second up. I was in season two, of course, but that title was co-authored and I had already written what would be book five. In this book, which will be entitled The Draco Eye, I’m inventing a new character, learning about others, and doing horrible things to one of them. Oh…and Nathaniel gets his share of horrible things happening to him, but you know, he’s the Main Character so I don’t think I’m disclosing much by saying he’ll survive.

On that note, please do pop along to the Space: 1889 Journal and vote for your favourite book of season two. Should you need to be reminded, Mundus Cerialis was co-authored with Andy Frankham-Allen, and A Fistful of Dust is entirely my own. Please vote in the season two poll.
My latest release was Hard Pressed — the companion book in the Calm and Chaos series with Musa Publishing. Not only was it selected as an Editor’s Top Pick, it’s been put forward for the Rainbow Awards 2014. I do not expect to win, but it’s nice that the book has some recognition for it was a bit of a struggle to write. Figuring out my main character in this one was difficult, and I have Vicki, who began as a reader, became my editor at Changeling, and after leaving is now a friend, to thank for kicking about my ideas until I could. If the first review is anything to by, the book has been received well. I could go so far as to say it may be my favourite romance to date as it reads almost mainstream. So to finish, thanks go to The Romance Reviews:

This is a beautifully written tale of two men from opposite sides of the emotional spectrum trying to make it work together against adversity. It’s a human journey into someone’s past and future and in trying to come with terms with each other against the odds. … Her love stories are hot and sexy, her characters deep and detailed, and you really find yourself cheering them on and just hoping they are going to be all right.

I hope you’ll pop by the site to read the whole review.
Happy Reading!
Sharon x

Categories: News, Reviews, Website | Leave a comment

The Voting Starts in 1889

You can call it a leap in time. Please do pop along to the Space: 1889 Journal and vote for your favourite book of season two. Should you need to be reminded, Mundus Cerialis was co-authored with Andy Frankham-Allen, and A Fistful of Dust is entirely my own: http://1889andbeyondjournal.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/season-two-polls-part-one/

Categories: News | Leave a comment

A New Look and A New Review

I’ve finally got around to separating my writing into two personas. Although one or two titles cross my non-romance work is under Sharon Bidwell, and my erotic romances under Sharon Maria Bidwell. Should I take on any more names to separate anything I do it’ll now be clear and my readers can tune into everything or what they choose to more easily. My posts will cover all news, but I don’t think that will be a problem for now.

And what better way to celebrate the new look website than with a great review. I have to admit to doing the undignified author thing of jumping up and down and squealling — okay, I did that more in my head than in reality but I wanted to — when I saw this review. I could not have asked for better for my latest release from Musa Publishing: Hard Pressed.

The Romance Review

Among the many good things reviewer Susan Mac Nicol has to say here is just a snippet:

This is a beautifully written tale of two men from opposite sides of the emotional spectrum trying to make it work together against adversity. It’s a human journey into someone’s past and future and in trying to come with terms with each other against the odds. … Sharon Maria Bidwell brings her scenes to life with humor, angst, emotion and more than a little lust. Her love stories are hot and sexy, her characters deep and detailed, and you really find yourself cheering them on and just hoping they are going to be all right.

You can read the whole review at The Romance Reviews.

Categories: Reviews, Website | Leave a comment

Way Past Time

It’s way past time I updated the site a little, which actually means I’ll be moving things around so if anything looks strange for the next day or so, it’ll be because I’m trying things out. Not planning huge changes, but hope to make things a bit clearer for me and the reader. Fingers crossed.

Categories: Website | Leave a comment

The Romance Reviews Acting Out

What can I say? The best review yet for Acting Out. I am honestly blown away:

The two men are charming, hot, sexy and the story flows along at a fast pace, delivering surprises and insights into the two men and their lives which I really enjoyed. I loved getting to know Nick’s family and his disapproving brother Charles, and I LOVED Nick’s dad and his understanding and love for his son. And Alex and Nick’s first lovemaking scene was warm, tender, hot and just right. There are some funny lines, some emotional moments and a lot of wonderful, warm fuzzy feelings for me in this book.

I will definitely be putting Sharon Maria Bidwell’s other books on my TBR list.

You can read the whole review at The Romance Reviews.
The Romance Review

Categories: Reviews | Leave a comment