Writing confidence vs the Fear

Just one week to go before the launch of my first indie published book, Girl In Trouble goes live. Until now, I’ve been working my way through all the things that have to be done – getting first and second round edits to/from the editor, sorting out the cover, making sure that the backmatter links work, getting everything formatted and uploaded to Kindle, Kobo, Apple etc, sorting out the launch week bonuses. But now. Now the fear is hitting me.

All my previous novels have been published by a traditional publisher. The publisher was responsible for making sure that the right files went to the right place and all things went smoothly on launch day. This time around, I’m responsible for it all. What if something goes wrong? Having all the control is great, but on the flip side, it’s also all of the responsibility.

Girl in Trouble cover (no quote)

I’ve put together a few incentives for people to buy the book. The earlier you buy, the more you get:

  1. It’s going to be 99p until the 11th of October. A bargain for a full length book in an established series.
  2. If you buy it in the first week of release (9 – 16th of October) you get some bonus material for free: Kisschase –a book of short stories AND A collection of Sri Lankan recipes (which you can’t buy otherwise).

Right. I’m going to go hyperventilate quietly in the corner now. 

Lots of free short stories (including one of mine)

If you’re a keen reader of short stories, then check out this giveaway link: https://ricraewrites.com/short-story-giveaway/

It takes you to a page listing a whole load of short stories, listed by genre, offered up through Instafreebie. My story, The Truth About the Other Guy is in there amoung them.

The Truth About The Other Guy appeared in the Truly Madly Deeply anthology, which showcased the best of British romance writing. It’s probably the only time I’ll be in the same book as Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson! Since it’s been a few years, I can now republish the story. I chose to give it away for free (for a while, at least).

For those of you who read Doctor January and wanted to know what happened to Vic, he’s the hero of this story. 2

Here’s the blurb:

Aasha has spent her life lying to her parents and pretending she’s the good Sri Lankan girl they expect her to be. She’s about to come clean when her mother announces she’s found her a ‘suitable’ man… which is not going to end well, because her mother doesn’t really know Aasha at all. Or does she?


If you haven’t heard of Instafreebie – here’s how it works. Authors put up free offers of short stories, extracts or even full books up on the site. You give them your email address and they send you the freebie in the electronic format of your choice. Job done.

A side effect is that you get put on the author’s mailing list. If you read and like the free thing, then that’s fab. If you decided you’d rather not hear from them again, just hit unsubscribe. ALL mailing list emails should have an unsubscribe button at the bottom.

[As an aside,  if you’ve changed your mind about being on the list, or only signed up for the free stuff (it’s fine, we all do that), you should always UNSUBSCRIBE and not hit the spam button. Hitting the spam button means that the poor list owner gets penalised. Hitting unsubscribe means you stop the emails without hurting anyone.]

Here’s that link again: https://ricraewrites.com/short-story-giveaway/



A whole new short story anthology – with cupcakes!

I’ve just got back from a week away (half-term with the kids) and found an email to tell me that the new Choc Lit anthology ‘Kisses and Cupcakes‘ will be out soon! Hooray!

Kisses and cupcakes short story anthology

Just like the first Choc Lit Love Match anthology, this book contains a collection of short stories from other Choc Lit writers (some of my favourite romance writers!) and each story contains a cupcake recipe that is in some way related to the story. At least one story involves gin and tonic cakes…

It’s available to pre-order on Kindle already. Hopefully, there’ll be a paperback too – because it would make a great Christmas present for my friends who like to bake.

My story in this anthology is called ‘Making Faces’ and I’m quietly pleased with it. The two main characters in the story appeared in the first book I ever wrote (we don’t talk about that book very much). They’re already a couple in that book, so it was really nice to meet them again and find out how they met.

Oh, and the cupcakes look like this:cupcakesWhy not buy it and indulge in a bit of light reading while you’re recovering after Christmas dinner?


‘How I learned to write’ or ‘Two emails about one 22nd of a book’

I had two nice emails today. Amazon emailed me to say that there was a new version of Choc Lit Love Match, which I purchased ages ago (before I was signed up with Choc Lit), to tell me that I could update the version on my Kindle for free. This, I promptly did. And Choc Lit emailed me to confirm that my short story ‘Just Add Milk’ was  now added to Love Match.


These two emails were a small reminder of how lucky I am. For years (decades even!) I wanted to be a published author. When I finally left uni, I suddenly found that people in normal jobs have (gasp) their evenings FREE! No guilt saying I should be doing some work, no thesis to write, no journal papers to read. Whole evenings and weekends, gloriously guilt free. So, what did I do? I got a bit over excited and signed up for a creative writing course. My course finished without my achieving anything major, but it reminded me what I loved about writing.

A few months later, I started working in London – which was a loooong commute from Oxfordshire. Sometime around then, I discovered the BBC Get Writing project. This, if you haven’t heard of it, was a wonderful initiative run by the BBC where published writers and unpublished ones were on a forum together. It was a wonderful site, sadly missed. I still had delusions of writing the literary masterpiece back then, and I hung around the short story writers forums. There I learned about the craft of writing and about discipline. I learned to write for an hour every weeknight. I learned to edit my writing, to pare it down and make the words that were left work harder. All that practice (an hour a day, writing anything, even prompt based flash fiction, is brilliant training) meant that the lessons somehow sank into my bones so that I no longer had to spend half an hour honing 200 words. I suppose I still could do that and end up with 150 even better words, but my first 200 words will be a lot less flabby the the ones I used to write.

By the time I changed jobs so that I didn’t have to commute, I had written thousands of words. I could write flash fiction pieces, but couldn’t plot for toffee (even though I thought I could). So I took another creative writing course. This one didn’t teach me to plot, but it introduced me to my writing buddy, Jen Hicks. Jen taught me to plot. Or rather, we taught each other. We’re still teaching and learning from each other. If I fail to kill my darlings, Jen will point them out for me.

I finished writing my first novel. I polished it and sent it off to agents (my god, how naive was I?!). A few nice rejections, including a few encouraging ones, later, I joined the RNA. From the RNA I learned so much, about everything related to the business. My first NWS feedback report told me that I needed to work on plot. So I did. I read plot book after plot book. Eventually, I improved. It’s still not sunk into my bones yet, it may never do that, but it improved enough for me to write three books that other people wanted to publish.
Which brings me nicely to two emails about one anthology, which is so much more than a collection of stories. It’s an introduction to the authors who write for Choc Lit. Twenty two stories, one from each of us so that you can choose whose style you like and start from there. I read books published by Choc Lit ever since they published their first book ‘The Importance of Being Emma’. I’ve loved nearly all of them. I hope you do too.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make myself a hot chocolate and bask in my own smugness for a few minutes. After that, I’m going to do some writing.