Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Katie's Hero Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Katie's Hero by Cody Young

Katie's Hero

by Cody Young

Giveaway ends February 20, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Johnny's waiting for you

Yes, it's ready and waiting for you.  A new time-travel adventure with Maddie Lambourne and Johnny De Vere - this time taking you back to the French Revolution and the Palace of Versailles.

The sequel to Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne went up on Smashwords last night.  Go grab an early copy and start reading, because I can't wait to hear what you think about this one.

You'll find several familiar faces in the book, and you'll meet lots of new ones. I hope you like Claude, the French art student - he's one of my favorites - and I had a lot of fun creating the Coachman and the Count de Marshmallow.

Update: - Amazon listings now available! For kindle copies on amazon.com click here.

For other e-book formats including epub and pdf go to Smashwords. Listings on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony and all the other main retailers of e-books will appear over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Cover!

Crimson Romance has just sent me the final version of the cover. I was so nervous opening the file - but it's everything I hoped for - and it's got something in common with the one I did for Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne. Just a few weeks to go before the release date (September 24) If anyone out there would like a free e-copy (or print, when they are ready) just let me know. I would love to get some reviews one this one.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Katie's Hero

Huge news - I'm now signed with Crimson Romance - an imprint of F+W Media in America. Yes, I have a publisher!!! Katie's Hero was the book that cracked it for me. I cannot reveal too much about the story - as it has not gone through final edits at Crimson yet. But I will share the brief teaser that I sent to Crimson that got my a request for the full....

London, 1940

Katie’s got a guilty secret and she’s hiding out in London. Bombs are falling all around her, but she doesn’t care if she lives or dies.

Michael is a handsome young pilot who likes to play the hero, especially when there’s a pretty girl involved.  But duty calls him away, just when Katie needs him the most. Wounded and full of regrets, he’s not sure she’ll give him a second glance.

Tom is a lovable rogue, or that’s what he likes to think. He’s touring the world at the Army’s expense, but he’s missing Katie more every day. Could he wrangle another chance with her -  after everything he’s done?

Katie’s Hero is an extraordinary story of the healing power of love. Fall in love with Katie’s Hero today.

The team at Crimson Romance say the release date for Katie's Hero will be September 24. I will keep you posted when I get to see what they come up with for the cover. Very exciting!! Crimson is still appealing for more authors so if you haven't visited their FB page and website yet - get over there.

For those people who are waiting for the sequel to JOHNNY DOESN'T DRINK CHAMPAGNE (currently going free on B&N, smashwords, and i-tunes) - it's almost there. It will be released any day now, first in e-book, then in print. Many thanks for the wonderful reviews.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free stuff

To celebrate the almost imminent release of Johnny and the Vampires of Versailles, I am letting the first book of the series go free in e-book format on Smashwords.
Here's the link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/99658

I would love to say it is also free on Amazon, but I have to wait and see if they price match and let it go free there too. Last time I did a freebie - I had over sixty thousand downloads over a period of months. Since I think Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne is a more exciting book, I am looking forward to getting lots of new readers and hopefully building up a bit of a buzz for the release of the sequel.
So please - tweet it out and tell everyone you know.

Also, I am giving away two copies of the PRINT version of Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne on Goodreads. Here are the details:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne by Cody Young

Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne

by Cody Young

Giveaway ends July 29, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cody On Writing

Okay, I know I’m not Stephen King  (although Amanda Hocking does say it’s okay to dream big) but I’m borrowing a couple of his words, just for this post. This is my advice ‘on writing’ – I’m putting this out there for those of you who are starting your journey towards writing a book and finding a readership. For those of you who are waiting for news about Johnny De Vere - don't worry. His next adventure is shaping up to be awesome. Well I think so, anyway.

Back to writing:-

Read On Writing, by Stephen King. Read it again. Read between the lines – because the best part of many books is written there. There's a Swedish proverb that says so, so it must be true.

Take a look at Randy Ingermanson’s  ‘snowflake’ method to help you plan your book. I’ve used this and it really helps. Try writing a 'character' sheet for some of the people you've known in your life, and then change their names and use them in your fiction. Live dangerously.

Look at Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet. Devise your own version of ‘The Board’ for outlining your story. It’s fun. Just remember though, that you’re not writing a movie script, unless you ARE writing a movie script. And fashions in movies and novels change – you don’t want to be so tied to the Beat Sheet that you lose the element of surprise.

Read Bob Mayer’s “Novel Writer’s Toolkit’ – particularly for advice on the bad guy. Yes, there needs to be a bad guy. Don’t kill him too soon, and don’t kill him by accident.

Read your dialogue out loud, or use an application like TextAloud to read it back to you. That way you won’t write dialogue that sounds like a badly-written wedding speech mated with an infomercial.

If you are writing romance – research the 12 steps to intimacy, and think very carefully about how to insert them (into your novel) with finesse, rather than crashing, clumsy embarrassment.

Ernest Hemingway said that ‘the writer’s job is to tell the truth’, preferably in plain words that most of us can understand. Otherwise your meaning may be lost in the foggy thicket of your words. I read that last bit in a grammar book somewhere and I wish, wish, wish I could tell you which one. Leave me a comment if you know.

Many books on editing freak out about repetition. Repetition is bad, bad, bad, they say. But some of the very best authors use it well. My advice is to be very careful what you repeat, rather than feeding your work into some dumb program to learn how many times you wrote ‘and then’ or ‘he said’. Look at this from William Shakespeare if you still think repetition is bad:
OLIVIA:  Where goes Cesario?
VIOLA: After him I love,
More than I love these eyes, more than my life,
More, by all mores, than e'er I shall love wife.
If I do feign, you witnesses above
Punish my life for tainting of my love!
She’s in love, right? And her love means more to her than her life. We get it. Do you get what I mean about repetition?

I hope this encourages you to break a few writing rules – coz some of them suck. 
Happy writing. 
Love from Cody.

Monday, May 7, 2012

FREE today! Voyages with a Merchant Prince

In another life (and under another name) I write non-fiction. Here's the blurb:-

‘If it should be a pirate, we had a fine ship, well armed and plenty of men to use the arms, what had we to fear? Accordingly, all hands were set to make preparations for defence against an enemy. The bosun got ready the great guns, the arms chest was unlocked – muskets, swords, handspikes, pistols, all in demand …’
The Ripley Diary, 12th July 1830.
A sailing ship on a voyage that would make a fortune. On board – an ambitious shipowner, his flirtatious young wife, and a crew on the verge of mutiny. Smuggling, piracy and shipwreck are all encountered on this amazing journey.
For the first time, the remarkable Ripley Diary is in print. It documents an astonishing voyage to a secret destination in China.  This original nineteenth-century text is unique, revealing the early days of free trade in defiance of the edicts of the Emperor of China. It is a national treasure. 
Enjoy the story of Thomas Ripley, hailed by the Liverpool Chronicle as ‘one of our most successful merchant princes’, a man who rose from rags to riches. Share the thrill of watching whales and dolphins, the excitement of racing a rival ship to Java, and the delights of exotic locations.
If you want to know the truth about life on a sailing ship in the nineteenth century, then read this book. Find out why some of the men were pressed into the British Navy and others were clapped in irons. Discover for yourself the secrets of the Ripley Diary, secrets hidden for 180 years.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Favorite Promo Pics for Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne

I am thinking of filming a book trailer for Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne, and with that end in mind I designed and sewed a medieval-style 'Burgundian' dress for the the actor who plays Maddie to wear.

This is what I came up with. It is made of black double velvet, worn over a gold kirtle, and fastened with an embroidered silver sash. I also made the snood, it is crocheted in gold yarn with pearls stitched over the lattice work.

She's wearing it with bare feet as I haven't yet mastered the art of making medieval shoes. 

In the true spirit of indie publishing I did all the photos myself - so I hope you like some of them! I like the candle ones best.

 If you haven't yet read Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne, you'd better hurry up because the sequel: Johnny and the Vampires of Versailles is on its way. Here's the link to the Goodreads page so you can check out some of the reviews.

It has just made the top 100 'Best Paranormal Books' on Goodreads too - which is wonderful news - it isn't easy to get that kind of exposure for an independent book. I've started planning Book Three, and with my usual wild optimism, I'm hoping to release it before the end of this year.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Two in my time travel trilogy: a taste of the story so far...

We are going back. Back to the time and place where we belong.
Johnny’s with me. We’re running towards the Tower, running through the driving rain. He holds my hand, and I feel tension - desperation – in his cold fingers. As the dark shape of the Tower looms up ahead, my courage fails. I stumble on the dirty cobblestones and fall to my knees. He hauls me to my feet and almost drags me along. I belong to the present day and it belongs to me, but I’m scared like I’ve never known true fear until today.
“I can’t do this!” My voice sounds wrong here. My American accent marks me out as someone who should not be here - in London, five centuries ago.
Johnny’s voice is cold and terse. “You must. Only a little further now!”

We’re so close. If we’re in time, we can leave this scary, unfamiliar place. We can leave all this behind. The crooked streets full of beggars. The timber-framed houses that seem to huddle together to share their secrets. The smell of the ancient River Thames, which has washed away the sins of this city since the early dawn of time.
We can go home - if we’re in time. We have to get back to the Tower of London before the tide turns. That’s how it works. We have to go through the doorway that leads from one time into another. If we are too late, we’ll be trapped here. That’s how it’s works. Cruel. Harsh. Unrelenting. Like a jury handing down a death sentence. Which is pretty much what I have done to Johnny, now that I come to think about it.
I have made him what he is today. This is all my fault.
We cross the moat and approach the Tower. Johnny barks an order to the guards on duty, and they fall back and let us pass.We run through the gateway. Our footsteps echo on the stones as we race across the wet courtyard. My skirts are sodden with water and stained with mud. My old-fashioned leather shoes are caked in dirt.
“We have to get to the Constable’s Chamber,” he yells.
I follow him towards the old stone building, with a pain in my side like a sharp spear. Johnny hammers on the door, and then, to my horror, he breaks it down, smashing through its solid oak timbers as if it were made of little more than matchwood. He pushes the broken pieces down onto the floor and then shouts at me. “Make haste, my love! Make haste!”
I follow him into the chamber, stepping gingerly over the splintered, broken timber. A man with scared eyes is coming towards us, holding up a lantern. He wears a long crumpled nightshirt and a white linen nightcap. Outlandish garments from a time long forgotten. In his right hand he carries a set of keys, quite redundant now, but jangling - in fear.
Johnny barges right past him. “My apologies, sir. We are in desperate haste. Here, take this in recompense for the damage.” He hurls a small leather bag onto the floor and it spills unfamiliar coins onto the flagstones. Large, round coins, imperfectly fashioned. Some of them tarnished with age. The man is too stunned to pick them up.
The room is lined with wooden panelling. Johnny storms across the room and smashes one of the panels as if it were a piece of rice paper. As the wood falls away, a hidden doorway is revealed.
“Maddie! Move!”
He makes me go ahead of him now. Up the stairs. Up and up the cold, spiral staircase made of stone. Out onto the parapet. Into the shivering darkness.
“Go on!” he says.
I turn, sick with fear. “No. Not without you!”

This is an excerpt from 'Johnny and the Vampires of Versailles' - due for release soon - the sequel to my time travel adventure, Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Finding the Useful Bits

There's is a lot going on behind the scenes with historical fiction. You have to do hours and hours of research and then you have to leave most of it out because you only want the good bits. IMHO historical fiction needs just enough history to spike your interest and no more, otherwise you tend to get sleepy. At the moment I'm writing the sequel to Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne - which will be set during the French Revolution. Researching this novel has been great fun, so let me show you some of the stuff I've been looking at:- One of the characters who will appear (in fictional form) is the painter Jacques-Louis David who later went on to paint this
I'm reading everything I can about the Sans Culottes and 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity'. And I'm reading Baroness Orczy's classic adventure story 'The Scarlet Pimpernel'. I'm also having a lot of fun visiting Chateaux on the Loire and vineyards in the Champagne region - the only drawback being that I can't taste the wine from this distance. At least I now know what Johnny's wine cellar would have looked like - and his bedroom - should he ever want to take a vampire-nap.
I'm checking out sites like this one, for inspiration for Maddie's dress for the ball at Versailles. Plus there are some great eighteenth century cartoons showing what NOT to wear - from an era when the answer to the angst-ridden question 'does my bum look big in this?' was meant to be YES.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yes - there is a sequel...

This post is for those wonderful people out there who read and enjoyed Maddie's story in Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne, who keep writing to me asking what is happening with the next book. Yes. There is a 'book two'. It isn't out yet - but it will be. Soon. (Yes, that does mean I'm still writing it).
The sequel's title is Johnny and the Vampires of Versailles and it is set (partly) at the time of the French Revolution. Like the first book - the story is a wild time-travel adventure that romps through a particularly bloody episode in the history of France. Like the medieval period that Maddie visited in book one, it's a time when innocent people died during ugly political struggles. Perfect territory for a romantic, headstrong girl like Maddie, and a great place for Johnny to demonstrate what it really means to be a hero. I have a very talented young designer working on the cover, even as we speak. Her name is Eden Antonia and she is brilliant. Here is a draft version of the cover for the new book - note that it is NOT FINISHED - we haven't even decided on the tagline, as you will see. But I absolutely love the concept and wanted to show you and get some opinions on it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

American Smile goes FREE for two days

The free promotion for my YA time travel book - Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne - was a great success. I've attracted thousands of new readers - so I'm keen to do another two-day promo with one of my other books. American Smile is a world war two romance woven together with a story set in the present day. It's not a time travel - but the story jumps from the past to the present. You have to read it to see what I mean, but I can tell you that the hero is very, very romantic - if a little, um, inexperienced. A word of warning for my YA readers - this book does contain a sex scene.

So, from midnight tonight (pacific time) or 8pm local time, this e-book is completely FREE for Kindle on amazon.com for the next two days.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How I got into writing

I struggle to remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer. I first thought about writing a book when I was seven and I found out there were no more books in the 'What Katy Did' series (written by Susan Coolidge in the 1870s, which was NOT when I had my childhood, just in case you were wondering...) I started writing immediately, but it seemed really, really hard, especially as I couldn't spell most of the words I wanted to use. So I guttered out after a few biro-splattered pages. My mom still has them. Only recently did I realise that it's probably no coincidence that one of my books due out in 2012 is about a girl named Kate. 

When I was eighteen, I started writing again. I was living in London and working in a music warehouse, so I began a story about a homeless boy who becomes a rock star. I'm guessing that I came up with this idea because I was a very shy girl who would have liked to have met a rock star, or even a homeless boy. I wrote and wrote every night until I had filled a whole folder full of notes and handwritten scenes. But I didn't finish it. I still love the premise though, and I'm thinking of rewriting it one day.

I completed my first manuscript (80,000 agonising word choices) about four years ago - by which time I was no longer a teenager, but I still wanted to write about them. It was a highschool love story (so far so good) but it was set in the Midlands in 1980 (the epicentre of cool) and none of my characters had a cellphone, a condom, or any common sense. About three times a year I get out this manuscript and seriously think about publishing it. So far I have resisted the temptation.

But I couldn't give up writing.

Then, it happened. The story that writes itself. The one where you sit down at the keyboard and your fingers can't type fast enough to get it all down. The characters that really live and breathe and demand that you tell their story. I wrote American Smile in two and half months and it is still the book of my heart. Two love stories in one - an American soldier meets an English girl in 1944 - and his grand-daughter searches for him with her own American hero in the present day. Brimming with enthusiasm about my story, I approached an agent at a conference, only to be told that 'nobody likes WW2 as a setting for romance'. And I believed her ... for a while.

It was around that time that I realized that writers don't DECIDE to become writers - they realize they ARE writers and they CAN'T STOP being writers, very much like meth addicts, I suppose.

I decided to write a book that agents would prefer. I thought I'd better try mainstream historical romance. I couldn't quite bring myself to do a Regency, but I reckoned I could manage a mid-Victorian story. I wrote the novella Scandal at the Farmhouse as a warm-up for the Big Historial Novel. Scandal turned out to be the book that got me my first publisher - a small press in the UK. Yippee!

Sadly, the imprint folded after only six months, leaving all the authors with the hard task of finding new publishers and better outlets for their work. I self-pubbed Scandal to 'get it back out there' and found that I sold a lot more then the publisher ever did. I wrote the Lady and the Locksmith at this time, aiming for the Harlequin Historical market, which explains why I boxed a big story into a tiny word limit and included what some people thought was a 'dirty' love scene. It may not have been my best work, but 50,000 people read it all the same.

I knew I wasn't writing what I really wanted to write though. So I thought long and hard and went back to the idea of writing Young Adult books. I read more books in the genre - Stephenie Meyer, Alyson Noel, Maria Snyder, Meg Cabot, Amanda Hocking, etc, etc.  I knew the paranormal trend was hot in YA, and put together a plot that had both paranormal and time travel elements. The result was JOHNNY DOESN'T DRINK CHAMPAGNE, and I must have got something right because the reviews have been awesome (thank you, wonderful readers, who 'got' what I was trying to say) and the book now makes up forty per cent of my total sales. I'm hoping to have the sequel ready soon, and also to release another world war two story. I'll keep you posted!

In the meantime ... if you haven't read Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne - it's FREE for kindle right now, so why not give it a try?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Free for all! For a limited time...

Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne has just gone FREE for kindle readers on Amazon today! So help me spread the word - this is my BEST book and I want it to reach lots of people. I finally decided to give Kindle Select a try - and I'm using my five free days of promotion all at once. So for the next five days (counting down to four, as I write this) my paranormal time-travel romance will be given away completely free.

I’m seventeen and he’s twenty-one.
That’s okay… isn’t it?
He drives a Lamborghini.
So what?
He was born in 1462.
He seeks revenge, but there is one person standing in his way.
A wild time-travel adventure full of love, lies, mystery and betrayal.
grab your copy for FREE!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What I'm doing when I'm not writing YA

When I'm writing, I write for several hours each day and the book is always on my mind. When I'm NOT writing, I still have to be doing something creative. Lately, I've been designing costumes for a teen production of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, one of my favorite YA writers. (Yep, Shakes for young adults, why not?) Twelfth Night is a classic 'OMG, maybe he's gay' story, but it also has some wise advice for anyone who has ever been in love. Here are some of the best nuggets:-
1. Never send anyone else to ask him/her out on your behalf. The Duke does this, and it does not pan out well. She falls for the messenger. Only the messenger is a girl dressed as a boy, and the Duke is really starting to like him...I mean her... Things get messy.
2. You've just found a note that says Miss/Mr Rich and Popular is your secret admirer? You want to rush round there and say, 'Yeah, baby, I feel the exact same way...' Wait! It could be a trap.
2. Do not try to impress someone by wearing yellow stockings. Big fashion no-no four hundred years ago, and this remains sound advice today.
3. Don't waste time on someone who doesn't feel the same way about you. The one who loves you could be standing right beside you wearing boy-leg pants.

 Seriously - it's a wonderful story - and will always get five stars from me. These are some of the costumes I've been sewing for the show. Can't wait to see the actors in them!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The pros and cons of releasing a free book

The Lady and the Locksmith went free in September and has been downloaded by over 50,000 readers. It peaked at number two on the free list on Amazon.com in October, when over 26,000 copies were downloaded by American readers. As a new author, I was completely unprepared for this kind of 'success' (or should I say exposure) It all came as a bit of a shock, in fact.

Why did I do it? Why give away my work for free? Well, I wanted a way to 'find' my readers. I'd been trying to decide whether to do a freebie or a bookmark, and I read an article about romance author Maya Banks which suggested that book marks don't help all that much with book promotion so I did a free novella instead. The results were staggering. If I had had any idea my modest little love story would reach so many people I would probably have been too terrified to release it.

The reviews have been fascinating. First of all, I had to get used to the fact that when fifty thousand people read your work, not all of them are going to love it. Some of them absolutely hated it, and they said so. Many people said it was too short, and I agreed with them - all my subsequent books have been full-length novels - 80k or longer. Some very intelligent readers pointed out that the hero's character isn't always consistent, and I agreed with them too. In my anxiety to write a story that was suitable for romance market, I allowed my hero, Carl, to seduce the girl against his better judgment and against my original plan for the story. This offended some readers. One reader even claimed that it was 'filthy, filthy, filthy' which made me laugh, as I have really had to work at being confident enough to describe moments of physical intimacy at all! Other readers just adored it - one of the nicest comments I got recently was 'I could feel their love' in a review on Amazon.com.

My response to all this is that I am now writing longer, more complex, more emotionally satisfying books than the Lady and the Locksmith - and the reviews of my latest book, Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne, reflect this. Releasing a free book is an exciting, scary, exhilarating thing to do. It's wonderful getting five-star reviews. It can be agony getting one-star reviews. It can be a real eye-opener getting three-star reviews because they are often the most critical, and sometimes touch a nerve. If you are a writer, thinking of releasing a freebie - go for it, but go into it with your eyes open. If you are a reader - taking a chance on a new author because their book is free - go for it - there are some amazing free books out there.