Sunday, 22 June 2014

Book Cover Revealed

Okay guys the new book is in beta stage as you probably know already, but the cover and the blurb are done. I am so pleased to be able to present the new cover for my new book Border Lines. Let me know if you like it.

Border Lines

"We all remember that kid in Piccadilly. That determined look he had on his face as he willed all those people to him. Just using his mind he pulled them close then blew them all to pieces. It could be anyone. Your neighbour, your friend, your lover. Remain vigilant. Reachers are everywhere.”

When the perfect job comes up Charlie doesn’t think twice about taking it. This is the break he’s been looking for and nobody, not even the rest of his team, can persuade him otherwise.
The job means working for an old enemy and crossing the border into London. Both are risky but Charlie has no idea how high the stakes really are.

The team will have to confront their past, each other and a killer who is closer than they realise. But can they all make it out of the city alive?
This is the second installment in the Reachers series.


Until the book is released, you have plenty of time to read the first book of the Reachers series if you haven’t had a chance before.
TRG_coverHer father called it the running game. Count the exits, calculate the routes. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.

Rachel had let her guard down and they had found her. She could run now, leave the city and try her luck beyond the borders, but with no money and a dark secret to hide her chances of survival are slim.

But then she meets two brothers with a dangerous past and secrets of their own. Can they help her turn the game around?

Buy Links

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

About Me (*blushes*)

Author PhotoL E Fitzpatrick was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, but now lives in West Wales, with her family plus lots of dogs and cats. She manages an office, volunteers as a room steward for the National Trust and also supports independent authors as a proofreader and beta reader. She obviously has no spare time because of this, but if she did it would probably be invested in walking in the countryside and enjoying the peace and quiet.
L E Fitzpatrick published her first series Dark Waters in 2011 and is currently working on her Reacher series.

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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Beta Readers and why they're the greatest asset to every indie

I see a lot of authors posting queries about beta readers. Where to find them, whether they're needed, are they going to steal our work?

It always makes me cringe when authors, especially in their early stages, are so paranoid about book thieves they refuse help that could really make a difference to their work. Although I've heard a lot about author paranoia I have never heard about a beta reader stealing somebody's work. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but it shouldn't be your first concern - and if you are really concerned you can copyright your work and protect it before you send it on.

Being overly protective, even sensitive can prevent a lot of authors from approaching outsiders but this is an essential step for every budding writer and is a perfect way of easing authors into the big, sometimes scary, world of writing.

So what is a beta reader? Well that's an easy one. A beta reader is someone who is going to read your work and try to help you make the best of it. Every beta reader is different and the help they can offer is different too, which is why it's important to approach several and cover every angle.

Some betas will just give you an overview of the story - these are the ones that tend to read your story like your audience will and they will give vital feedback. Others (like me) will pick apart each sentence. And this latter group are far more tedious but will make a good book a great book.

Betas will test your book and they will report back to you constructively. It is very rare you will get aggressive or despondent feedback. But be warned they will be honest. If you've made a mistake or if they don't like something you will be told so prepare yourself for difficult comments and remember these readers are doing you a favour - their advice is essential.

"But my friends said my book is great, I don't need beta reads." Wrong! Your friends know you, they're part of your clique. When you talk nonsense they probably know what you are talking about. They also might be aware of your sensitive nature, or not take your work seriously. Betas are passionate about books, they read more than most and they will make your work accessible world wide.

So what type of feedback do they give? First off they'll pull you up on major issues. If the book is unreadable, poorly written or badly punctuated they'll let you know where you are going wrong. Then it's back to the drawing board. If you pass that first test it's then down to the plot, the characters, if it's an enjoyable read - remember each reader will be different so you can take their advice selectively. If all but one of your readers love your characters you can assume you don't need to make changes, but if you all of your readers but one hate your characters then go back and work on these.

At what stage you give your work out for beta reading is entirely up to you. I prefer total and utter completion myself. I will proof it personally and hand them what I think should be the finished article (only to turn around and be told I need to make changes). Some of you may want to get feedback on plot or characters earlier and as long as you let your readers know that's what you're after they'll direct their attention in the right place.

This invaluable help is usually free, so bear in mind it takes time. And most importantly these readers are going out of their way to help you - so bloody appreciate them.

Now, what have beta readers done for me? Okay so here are a few things that wouldn't have happened if I didn't have my precious betas:

  • My entire opening chapter of The Running Game would be written in the wrong tense.
  • My book would be littered with little annoying typos
  • Rachel, my leading lady, would have got into the boot of the car with her hands tied behind her back and magically got out of the car with them tied at the front.
  • I would have used the word gormless and alienated my non-UK readers (meaning lacking sense, or foolish).

But the most important thing beta readers do for you is give you confidence. You see they give pick up your errors but they also pick up your strengths. Getting emails from them telling me they loved my book (and each loved different aspects) gave me the confidence to really push The Running Game a lot more than I ever have with other books. After their words and support I feel incredibly proud of my work and I am fueled to write more....

Which is why we're here. Book 2 is with them now and this brings us nicely into the next topic - dealing with criticism and who knows maybe I will have pages of examples for you by the time the week is out.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Finishing Your Story .... Part Two

There is quite a big gap between this post and the last one. You might remember last time I was talking about finishing your story and making it perfect... well if you don't remember go back and bloody read it. Waiting. Waiting. Oh good you're back. Now as I was saying, there's been a gap. And there is a reason for this.

Finishing your story is going to be one of the hardest moments to realise. You can write "the end" but there is always going to be that chapter that could be better, that bit of dialogue that needs smoothing over. Eventually every author just has to step away from the manuscript and call it a day. This is the horizon moment for every author. We can see that end in the distance but we can never reach it.

So when do you just stop? In my case it was when I forgot how to use commas. I found myself staring at the manuscript after the 100th read through - trying to making it the best it could be - and suddenly I had a comma meltdown.

They started, showing up everywhere, places they were supposed to, and, places, where they, weren't! Oh crap I've still got some residue grammatical overload. This stage was my neon sign telling me there was nothing more I could do and every buff and polish was now just going to smear.

Your book can always be better but you will reach a point where you can't make it better. That is the end stage. When you find yourself vandalising your work stop. Please stop. Now you are there. This is the end.

But this doesn't mean the book is perfect. It doesn't even mean the book is finished. You've reached the stage where you can't be trusted with your work. Now is the time to hand it over to beta readers.

This is where I am at with my new book. It got to the point where I couldn't see the wood for the trees and I just had to draw a line under what I had done. It doesn't mean I am not proud of what I've done, but like a lot of authors I'm at the self-conscious stage. What if my writing has slipped? What if the plot doesn't hold up? And to make matters worse, this is a sequel to a really well received novel so: What if this doesn't live up to expectations.

Well that's what my betas are going to tell me and once I have their insight my confidence will grow - or plummet.

So you're now ready to find your beta readers - how the hell do you do that? That at least I can help with. Beta readers are everywhere. They don't need to have qualifications or special skills. In fact the bigger the mix of readers the better. All you are looking for is people who will read your book and be honest.

I found a lot of my betas from Goodreads. They have beta groups where you can post and also have betas posting their services. Also Facebook has lots of beta groups which are open to all newbies and their work. You should easily pick up a handful of readers and in this instance the more the merrier. Bear in mind half your readers may not get back to you but treasure those that do.

So my book is out with the readers at the moment, which means the next post will be about dealing with feedback. Good and bad.