Thank you and book update. A quiet lockdown launch for Art and Soul… with cake!

Art and Soul an uplifting contemporary romance novel by Claire Huston book cake 2
Yes, the enormous book in the middle is, in fact, a cake!

Like many authors, I always hoped to have a small party to celebrate the publication of my debut novel, Art and Soul. Like everyone, I didn’t expect lockdown. But, even if she only has 4 people to feed, you can’t keep a baker down. And with a good excuse to make a giant cake, I made one!

Art and Soul an uplifting contemporary romance novel by Claire Huston book cake 3

Here’s another picture of it sliced, just to prove it really was a cake. Two large layers of simple sponge cake with vanilla buttercream and then an edible customised topper which I ordered online.

And if you’re wondering where I am… ta-dah!

Art and Soul an uplifting contemporary romance novel by Claire Huston book cake (2)

Sorry I look so squinty, but it was a beautiful bright day so at least we got to eat cake in the garden.

Blog Tour thanks

Thank you to all the bloggers who took part in the blog tour for Art and Soul and, of course, to Rachel Gilbey for doing such a wonderful job in organising it all. Their reviews are brilliant and I’m thrilled they enjoyed the book, with many of them finding it was exactly the sort of cheerful distraction they needed at the moment.

Thank you too!

And thank you everyone for your kind words, sharing the message the book was out and, indeed, to those of you who bought or downloaded a copy. I really appreciate it.

If you have read and enjoyed Art and Soul, if you can, please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. It does make a huge difference to how visible the book is to other readers.

Still a book bargain!

If you like contemporary romance and are looking for an uplifting story, I’d be delighted it you would give Art and Soul a try. And/or tell your romance-reading friends about it!

The ebook is still only 99p / $0.99 on Amazon or free to read with Kindle Unlimited.

And/or if you could add the book to your to-read shelf on Goodreads, I’d be very grateful.

Art and Soul contemporary romance novel cover by Claire Huston a heartwarming uplifting romance

Thank you again! I hope you’re all keeping safe and well.

Next week, normal service will resume with a recipe post 🙂


Get your copy of Art and Soul now!

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

Happy Publication Day! New #ContemporaryRomance, Art and Soul by @ClaraVal, out today! Ebook just 99p/$0.99! #ArtandSoul #RomanceBooks

Happy publication day to me!

Art and Soul novel book cover contemporary romance uplit
My debut novel, Art and Soul, is out today!

If you are fond of contemporary romance and looking for an uplifting story, please give my book a try.

The ebook is only 99p (or $0.99) on Amazon. so go on, treat yourself, a family member or a friend today!

And/or if you could add the book to your to-read shelf on Goodreads, I’d be very grateful.

Here’s the cover, the blurb and a bit about the blog tour which starts today and runs until the end of April.

P.S. For those of you who are only here for the cake and biscuits, normal service will resume soon! I promise! 🙂


The blurb:
There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake.


The blog tour!

Thank you to all the amazing bloggers taking part in the tour for Art and Soul. Special thanks to the fantastic Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources who organized the tour.

I’ll be doing my best to share everyone’s posts on my other social media accounts. Thank you again to everyone for your support!

Get your copy of Art and Soul now!


Claire Huston / Art and Soul

Author Interview: Claire Huston @ClaraVal

I’m delighted to be featured on Esther’s brilliant blog today to talk about my debut novel, Art and Soul (which comes out next Thursday, 23rd April – eeek!), writing and baking (of course!).

You can read the whole interview by following the link to Esther’s blog and the original post blow 🙂

estherchiltonblog

It’s a pleasure to introduce you to Claire Huston. I met Claire at an author meet-up a little while ago and was very interested to hear about her forthcoming book.

Q. Your first book, Art and Soul, is due out on April 23rd this year. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

A.Art and Soul is an uplifting, contemporary romance featuring love, art and cake.

The main character, struggling single mother Becky Watson, longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump…

View original post 740 more words

A one-off post featuring (almost) shameless vote wrangling

Yes, you’re right: this post is basically an excuse to use the verb “wrangle” in a title 🙂

However, it’s also to say “yay!” because, wonder of wonders, I’m nominated for a Bloggers Bash Award!

2nd annual bloggers bash awards 2016

I’m nominated in the Best Pal Blog Award category, the criteria for which is: Which blogger do you want to go to the pub with? Or maybe have dinner with? Who never fails to reply to comments, and has thoughtful things to say. Maybe they encourage the community through weekly challenges or blog parties. Who wouldn’t the blogging world be the same without?

This is so lovely. I’m thoroughly delighted to be nominated. *cue happy dance*

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Visit to Coombe Abbey Country Park and a quick writing update

Coombe Abbey hotel and Coombe Abbey Country Park near Coventry 3

If you follow my ramblings, you’ll know I recently sent the first 3 chapters of my book, Art and Soul, to an editor. His feedback lead to me deciding to cut chapters 1 and 2 and do a whole other bunch of edits (more about all this here).

I retreated to the writing cave and the edits are done! I sent the “new” first three chapters to the literary agent who had asked to see them (*biting nails until I hear back*). I also sent the whole manuscript to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Scheme (*biting stubs of nails until I hear back*).

Hopefully the agent will want to see the rest of the MS and I’ll get positive feedback from my RNA reader.

In the meantime, after stepping out from the writing cave and blinking in the sunlight… We went to visit Coombe Abbey and Coombe Country Park, which are near Coventry and a short drive from us.

Coombe Abbey hotel and Coombe Country Park near Coventry 1

Continue reading…

7-7-7 Writing Challenge

777 Writing challenge featured image

The 7-7-7 challenge encourages writers to go to the seventh line on page seven of their work in progress (WIP) and share the next seven lines.

The lovely KJ Chapman and Mollie both nominated me for this challenge and I’ve been typically rubbish at getting round to it. I’m sorry 😦 They are both wonderful writers and people, so please check out their blogs!

In very exciting news, KJ is publishing the second book in her EVO Nation series – EVO Shift – on March 1st. More about that here.

I’ve cheated and taken what were nine lines (they come out at more than that in the format they’re in below) from page seven of my current WIP which is my second, as yet untitled, novel. More contemporary women’s fiction. Some context: our heroine, Fran, is reluctantly helping a young man find a book in the university library.

777 challenge snippet from Plan for the Worst by Claire Huston

 

As is always the way, I’m not convinced by my use of commas here. Hey ho, it’ll probably all get cut before the book’s finished 😉

I’ve got round to this so so late, I won’t tag anyone because I’m sure everyone’s already been tagged. However, if you’re reading this and would like to do the 777 Challenge, please go ahead and let me know so I can check out your post!


Claire Huston / Art and Soul

 

 

Exciting writing times and why I may be absent for a while…

Exciting developments, my friends!

Excited gif

 

But first, the story so far. Skip this if you’re up to date on my writing-related wafflings…

I’ve written a book (see Art and Soul for more about that). I’ve been sending the first three chapters to literary agents, but haven’t been getting anywhere. I recently sent it to an editor and he suggested deleting chapters 1 and 2 and starting with chapter 3. As a result, I’m currently staring at a huge pile of edits.

And now back to the exciting news!

Having thought I hadn’t made the cut (and been rather disappointed), last week I was beyond delighted to receive an invitation to join the Romantic Novelist Association‘s New Writer’s Scheme. The Scheme allows unpublished novelists writing in the romance genre to submit their manuscript to an existing RNA member for critique. You also get to take part in all RNA activities and events.

Continue reading…

Editing your novel. My experience of getting professional feedback

To date, I’ve submitted the first 3 chapters of my first novel, Art and Soul, to 23 literary agents to no avail.

So, before continuing with submissions, I decided it was time to ask a professional editor to look at those first three chapters and give me critical feedback.

I researched my options, selected my editor, sent off my first 3 chapters and synopsis, and waited for their report with a mixture of excitement and dread.

Editor writing cartoon

The good

I paid for critical and I got it. However, for the sake of my own self-esteem I must keep repeating an opening comment: “on the whole” I write well. That’s a relief. I shouldn’t chuck it all in just yet then. 🙂

The improveable

There were bits and bobs I won’t bore you with, because the headline, Dear Reader, was tremendous: cut chapters 1 and 2 and start with chapter 3.
Continue reading…

Editing your own writing: identifying your errors and bad habits

Support group for writers editing cartoon

Back in December, I wrote a post asking whether you can ever really finish editing a piece of your own writing. I talked about how I’d recently re-read my entire novel after a six-month break and been surprised by how much I wanted and needed to change.

In this post, I thought I’d share some of my editorial findings and pet problems. All punctuated by some good cartoons, of course 🙂

Peanuts Snoopy Editing and writing cartoon

One of my most common editing notes was “fix flow”, which makes it sound as though I need a plumber rather than an editor! These were places in the story where I felt the connection between sentences or paragraphs was too sudden or jarring and needed smoothing; as if reading were like climbing down a ladder and suddenly a rung was missing. I blame these absent rungs on a previous round of harsh word-cutting prior to submitting to literary agents. From “internet wisdom” I became convinced that if my MS was over 90,000 words I had no hope of anyone asking to read it. And so I cut as many words as I could, leaving things a little too bare in places. However, now it seems I’ll be self-publishing, the book can be as long as I damn well think it needs to be! So the words are going back in (you can’t stop me, mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha… you get the idea).

Continue reading…

Help! I’m now on Facebook and Pinterest!

I finally did it. I created a Facebook author/blog page! I even figured out how to put the widget in my right sidebar here on the blog, although at time of publishing this it still wasn’t showing up properly in Firefox (although Chrome is fine… weird) and I don’t that’s something you see if you’re viewing the blog on your phone… But hey, I still managed it! 🙂

Claire Huston author Facebook page and pinterest

I’m still working out what I’m doing with it, but I’m getting there. In the meantime, if any of you would be kind enough to drop by and “Like” my Facebook page I would really appreciate it. It’s a bit lonely over there at the moment… *tumbleweed rolls past as the wind howls*.

If you have a Facebook page, please leave me a link in the comments below so I can return the favour 🙂

Also, if any of you have any Facebook wisdom/insight of the “if only I’d known this when I started using Facebook” kind, I’d really appreciate you sharing it with me! Are there any groups I should join, for example?

Pinterest Claire Huston book covers board

And as if that weren’t enough, I finally got onto Pinterest too. So far I only have a few boards, but it would be nice to have some friends on there. If you have an account, please let me know in the comments below so I can find and follow you 🙂

You’ll see I also put together a little bookish social media graphic to put at the bottom of my posts. Clicking on the appropriate button will take you to my pages on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. Looking forward to “seeing” you there. If I’m not yet your friend on Goodreads or Twitter, leave me the links for those too so I can put that right!


Claire Huston / Art and Soul