Down with the kids

“Brrrrap-brrrap!”

Yo, w’sap, homies?

Yeah, I know. I have no idea what I just said either… ;-)

So, welcome back. It’s been a while.

A lot has happened since we last spoke:

The sun finally came out here in the good old Kingdom of the United, in fact, rumour has it, that this is the longest period of temperatures above 25 degrees for more than three days since 2006. Who knew eh? There was a time when we would call that Summer and not a heat wave, or a ‘sustained period of consistently high temperatures and sunshine’. *shrugs*

A Brit finally won Wimbledon (yay) and a new Prince has been born. Yep, it’s all going on here in our fair isle. In fact, the UK seems a pretty cool place to be at the moment. Welcome Prince George Alexander Louis – you have no idea what you’re in for!  :-)

Royal baby born

Yep, it seems that contrary to popular opinion, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We just stop noticing that they’ve changed. We’re good at that, kids are good at that. They are pliable and easy to mold. They will alter their thinking and their shape (and size!) in the blink of an eye and take it all in their stride. Remember when you used to be like that?

But, as much as we resist it, change is inevitable and change we must. There comes a time when despite our best efforts, things move on. A new job, a new house, a change of scenery to recharge the batteries. Time to sell the old rust bucket in the drive and upgrade to a newer model? Everyone does it. It might happen without us really thinking about it, but sure as eggs are eggs (except when they’re chickens) it will happen.

The good thing is, when you realise that it’s time for a change and you can control how it comes about.

That’s what happened to me.

I have been at this writing lark (officially) now almost three years. I have seen the publishing industry change and evolve, I have seen new writers burst onto the scene and sadly, I’ve seen one or two of them depart; some shuffling off this mortal coil forever, but leaving a million words behind them in their wake – a legacy to inspire the next generation.
Yes, things have certainly moved on.  The literary landscape is very different today than it was back then and I suspect, will be a different animal altogether in another few years and if we want to still be seen on that horizon, then we have to be prepared to alter with it.

A few weeks ago, Mark and I did a bit of shape-shifting and made the decision to put ourselves in the hands of the mighty ‘Zon for a year. Sure, we were doing quite well on other platforms here in the UK and around the world, but we’re still not sure how great the competition is from the other digital contenders and we figured that it was the right time to take a punt with the big boys whilst the others sorted out how they were going to compete in the future.

We put all of our crime titles in an exclusive program with Amazon and pulled them from all other retail channels. We’re sworn to secrecy about this program (but I am sure that you all know what we’re talking about) and we wouldn’t want to have to hunt you down and terminate you, so for the purpose of this blog, we will refer to the program as Operation Dust Check. or ODC.

ODC is an agented-books-only program that allows UK authors some extra visibility across the waters by way of specialist listing on certain Amazon pages and increased promotional activity, in return for you selling your soul to the devil for an agreed period of time. We have heard good things about ODC from a handful of authors, whilst others remain unconvinced. I guess it’s like everything you get with Amazon – you just don’t know. So we will wait and see what happens. Our promotions start next month and it remains to be seen whether they will have a huge impact or not, but either way, it was a chance we decided to take. Move with the times or get left behind…

Personally, I also decided that now was the right time to move in a different direction as a writer.

You may have read in some of my other blogs from waaaay back that my first love as a writer was fantasy/paranormal. That hasn’t changed. In fact, the Dark Halo series that Mark and I will be releasing at some point, fits nicely into that box – if you’re gonna label it. So when Mark and I started discussing our future plans and life after the ODC deal, I decided that it was time for me to veer off in a different direction.

Let me just make this clear: Saffina Desforges (as in Mark Williams and myself) is still very much alive and kicking (or writing). We have NOT parted company. Sure, he drives me insane sometimes (more insane?) and we have our cyber-spats now and again, but we are still 100% team Saffi and will remain so for many years to come. We will still be releasing titles in the Rose Red Series and as I said, Dark Halo will appear at some point in the near future, but we have agreed to work separately on other projects.

That’s where the new kids on the block come in.

No, not the eighties group – the INDIGO KIDS. Here, meet them. Come and say hello…

IndigoJax_CVR_LRG

As you can see from the cover, I am now writing as STEVIE JORDAN.

You can find out more about the kids and the other books in the series here.

This project is another (but very different) collaboration for me. My crazy-but-lovely friend Karen Osborne would rather spend her time horse whispering and talking to the stars. What better person to write a sci-fi/paranormal fantasy trilogy with?

Jax – Book One of INDIGO KIDS  was released yesterday and this morning, it charted both here and in France.  Happysmiley face.

chart

fr2

Needless to say, we are very happy and we hope that you’ll check out the kids and the series if you get chance.

Moving in this direction is a leap of faith for me. I am following my heart (and my characters) and going where my pen takes me. As a writer, we learn and grow all the time and STEVIE JORDAN is just another one of many paths that have to be explored.

For more information on STEVIE JORDAN and the new CRIMES IN WONDERLAND series featuring DI Andi Lincoln (set in my home town) too, check out the blog.

So it’s onwards and upwards. Another journey into the unknown, another new chapter. After all, that’s what writing is about, right?

Hell, that’s what life is about…

Saffi

Teenage kicks ~ Saffina Desforges and St Mallory’s Forever!

Here’s one for you:

What do a long-haired, middle-aged teacher/writer/trampolining expert residing in West Africa; a thirty-something football-mad scribe and snowboarding loud-mouth with a penchant for beer and Ray Ban’s; a self-proclaimed neek (50% nerd, 50% geek) and super-hero wannabe (special powers – multi-instrumentalism) and a poem-writing, bibliophillic boarder (school, not snow) have in common?

man_question_mark

Indeed, you might ask!

St Mallory’s Forever!

That’s what.

The new Young Adult/Teen mystery from Miriam Joy, Charley Robson & Saffina Desforges

The new Young Adult/Teen mystery from Miriam Joy, Charley Robson & Saffina Desforges

How could the universe throw such peeps into the melting pot and not expect chaos to ensue? And what would they come up with? Who are these people?

We all love a good mystery right?

Okay, before I introduce Miriam and Charley (because you already know the front and back end of the Saffna Desforges pantomime horse intimately), hands up those of you who can work out which one is which of us from the opening descriptions?

I bet you all thought that I was the quiet one and that Mark ‘Zebedee’ Williams liked the odd chilled glass of Stella right?

Sorry to disappoint, but Mr Williams doesn’t get anywhere near enough snow to be a boarder where he is! ;-)

So what of these crazy teen writers that we have gone and got ourselves embroiled with then? Who are they? How did we meet? And what do they do?

Say hello to Miriam Joy (of neek and super-hero fame):

Double prosperity

Double prosperity

Look, she admits she’s a geek, okay! Anyway, don’t take my word for it, here’s a few words from her royal-neekness herself:

Miriam Joy has lived all her life in South-East London, plodding through the state education system, and has got as far as AS levels: English Lit, French, Music and Classical Civilisations.

Never one to make things easy on herself, she plays three instruments (violin, flute and piccolo), does both archery and ballet, and is learning two dead languages and a made-up one on top of her schoolwork. She also makes YouTube videos and answers emails for the Teens Can Write Too blog, and still manages to find time to procrastinate.
She also has an obsession with mythology, mainly Celtic and Norse, which started at the age of eleven. Far from ‘growing out of it’ as most people expected, she has simply become more knowledgeable, or as her parents call it, weird.

You can also read another blog interview with Miriam on St Mall’s and collaboration here.

So who is this fellow-geek and trekkie-cum-Sherlockian, Charley that she mentions?

This is what Miss Robson had to say about herself when I battered her repeatedly with a virtual lacrosse stick asked her to jot a few lines down (they’re sooo cool these girls, that they already refer to themselves in the third person. I’m surprised they don’t have a middle initial!):

Charley Robson is a student, geek and bibliophile, and has passed the majority of her education in a private Dorset boarding school. She has been writing “seriously” for around eight years; at thirteen, she began writing a high fantasy novel that spawned into her very first trilogy – which, despite its flaws, she is still very proud of. She credits the fantastical works of myriad fantasy authors, both from childhood and into her ever-approaching adulthood, for her enduring devotion to the genre.

Outside of fiction, Charley is also a fairly prolific poet – one of her poems was awarded a place in the Top Twenty of a Daily Telegraph poetry competition in 2010 – and enjoys writing articles for her school magazine. In 2012 she also followed up on a keen interest in theatre and acting by writing a pantomime for performance in the annual school Drama competition.

St Mallory’s Forever! marks Charley’s first foray into the mystery genre, something she has long admired but eternally struggled to concoct plots for. St Mallory’s has also marked Charley’s first serious escapade into co-writing, and the mechanics of the publishing world at large.

Oops! Almost forgot – this is Charley:

She's a poet and she knows it

She’s a poet and she knows it

What other amazing facts can I share?

Oh yeah: These two new kids on the block are still at school.

Miriam will just have turned 17 by the time St Mall’s goes live, how cool is that? We are thrilled to have been able to work with them and assist on this project. It has been great fun and I have no doubt that kids, teens and adults alike will love St Mallory’s as much as we loved helping them write it!

So what’s it about?

Well, St Mallory’s Forever! is a good old, warm and fuzzy mystery novel. Set in an imaginary boarding school (think Malory Towers and St Clare’s), but written as blog posts from the point of view of three girl boarders. Here’s the unofficial blurb…

When her mother becomes head of music at St Mallory’s School for Girls, Helen is uprooted from her London comprehensive to start a new life in a totally alien environment – a boarding school. But before long, the behaviour of the other girls is the least of her problems: Helen picks up a piece of rare music from a shop in Brighton, and suddenly she is at the centre of what seems to be an enormous …conspiracy.The bursar is behaving suspiciously. Her mother is lying to her. And now Tim Morrigan, a boy from the partner school, is getting involved. Do they all want the music, or are there other motives in play? And since the music appears to have been written after the composer’s death, is it real, or simply an elaborate fake?Accompanied by Abigail Roe, a veteran student with a penchant for Shakespeare and geek culture references, and Xuan Liu, the well-travelled daughter of a Chinese diplomat, Helen sets out to solve the mystery. But homework, lacrosse matches, and morally ambiguous members of staff all seem to be determined to stop them.
We are frantically trying to get this ready for early next week – mouse power and weather permitting, so please bear with us whilst we do.
 
But, if Mr Williams insisits on spending all his time bouncing on trampoline with the local kids, don’t hold your breath! ;-)
Mark hard at work on St Mallory's

Mark hard at work on St Mallory’s

 
In the meantime, head over to the facebook page here and show some love by clicking ‘like’.
 
It’s a shame there isn’t a ‘flippin’ love this’ button, ‘cos I am pretty sure you will!
 
Jolly hockey (or in this case, lacrosse) sticks!
 
Saffi
 
**NEWSFLASH**
 
St Mall’s is available on Amazon UK here and Amazon.com here from today!
 
 
  • Buy Part One: JAX – INDIGO KIDS from Amazon

  • Buy Part Two: HADI – INDIGO KIDS from Amazon

  • Buy Part Three: STARR – INDIGO KIDS from Amazon

  • Buy Part Four: CECI – INDIGO KIDS from Amazon

  • Buy ROSE RED CRIME THRILLER BOXED SET FROM AMAZON

  • Buy Sugar & Spice from Amazon

  • Buy the French edition of Sugar & Spice (Paraphilia)

  • Buy Snow White from Amazon

  • Buy Snow White in PRINT from Amazon

  • Buy Rapunzel from Amazon

  • Buy Ring A-Ring O’Roses from Amazon

  • Buy The Night Before Christmas from Amazon

  • Buy Anca’s Story from Amazon

  • Buy Anca’s Story in PRINT from Amazon

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