Monday, 30 June 2014

Thank you to all for a great month of #book sales, shares and tweets !!!!

It's been a great month for Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure, partly due to the release of the sequel. There are exciting changes ahead for the book so stay tuned for news.
Thank you to all who have shared the links, tweeted and recommended people I really appreciate the support.

Paying it forward has been the key to my successful promotions, so if you are an author be sure to check out my Rukia Publishing pages for more details. It's an evolving resource, but if it helps in any way then that is awesome.

Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure is only 99¢/77p
The latest review:
4.0 out of 5 stars What a adventure!, June 18, 2014
By Penny Lover - See all my reviews
This review is from: Glass Half Full (Paperback)
I enjoyed this amazing journey of Sarah's family's experiences while searching for a better life in Australia. A heart filled account of courage and faith. Beautifully written from this authors heart.... and I am now looking forward to the next book and what happens in France!!


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Are you a 'try to' or a 'can do' person? TRY = #efforts, CAN = #results

The process of combining my various blogs, websites and social media presence has started. For someone like me who went to school in the age of notebook and pen, the IT skill requirements in the writing arena is challenging to say the least. Undeterred, with the help of my husband Nigel and my son Rob (who works in IT) we are collating and making a new entity as part of a long tail future project of mine. Inspired by the amazing support I have received in various author and writer networking arenas over the last six months I have decided that I would like to reciprocate and give something back. The new combined website will be called Rukia publishing and it will initially be home to free services for self published authors to help them gain exposure and advertise their book sales and promotional events. Outside of my writing career I have worked in business, sales and marketing, but even so the world of book sales is a whole new kettle of fish as they say.
More on Rukia Publishing over the coming weeks, but as I pull together the components for the set up I have been reading old posts on my blogs and this caught my eye.

Christmas Eve 2011

In the Saturday Magazine supplement of the Tasmanian Mercury Newspaper, there is a weekly feature detailing ten items from a readers 'bucket list'.
This extract from the feature called 'I would love to'  published on Christmas Eve 2011.

Sarah Jane Butfield, 46, relocated to Tasmania after Queensland's floods. Sarah has four children and three step-children. Despite working full-time she is studying for Diplomas in Journalism and Creative Writing.

I would love to

1.   Finish my first novel and have it published.

2.   Learn Italian and spend time in Italy experiencing the culture

3.   Complete my diplomas

4.   Arrange a family dinner with all of our children from the UK & Australia

5.   Meet and speak with the Dalai Lama

6.   Spend 6 months in Tibet studying Buddhism and meditation

7.   Offer my nursing skills as a volunteer in Africa for 6 months

8.   To regain a family home

9.   Go on a road trip across the US

10. Be a grandmother... in a few years!( this year actually 2014)

The items highlighted in blue I have achieved and I feel very proud of that, only five items to go then I can make a new bucket list!!

I have discovered a few things about myself on this journey to achieve a new direction in my life, and one of the most important is that - 'I can do whatever I put my mind to,' however far out of my comfort zone it may appear to push me. This is inspiring me to step up without fear and say 'I can'  instead of 'I'll try' that tiny word 'can' truly does influence your mindset. I have always prided myself on demonstrating a positive attitude to our children in the hope that they would grow into independent, self-assured individuals who would embrace life with all of its imperfections, but enjoy it at the same time.  My determination to be successful in my writing career is escalating and I find myself thinking and working on little else, but I love it. I am so grateful for the support of my husband, friends and family who never fail to meet my requests for listening to story ideas, reading interviews, answering questions about issues I am researching, etc.

I believe in dreaming big, working hard to ensure success and having fun. So as we move forward to the next stage of our dreams, goals and ambitions, our daily mantra continues;
'You have to conceive it, and believe it, to ensure you achieve it.'
This remains posted to our dream board as our daily inspiration. As we tick off our achievements the words gain momentum so my advice is ‘Watch this space!!!!’

Thursday, 12 June 2014

New Release already pulling in the reviews on #Amazon

*****Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente.*****

Read the first UK reviews they are all 5 *****  

“A fantastic sequel love love love it!!! Felt like I was in France with you! Look forward to next adventure.” Leah Reeby

“In order to fully appreciate this excellent book I heartily recommend that you read Glass half full which is the first instalment of the writers journey. In both books the writer has a clear voice which shows the real emotion of the time. You live through all the ups and downs of this fascinating journey and find yourself wishing that you had the courage to do what this family have done . I loved both books and hope that this writer gains a wider audience which she so richly deserves.” swnseajac

“What a rollercoaster of highs and lows....a good insight to some of the pitfalls France throws at you, Sarah more than shows this in her truthful style of writing.....a great read for anyone contemplating the 'French dream' ! However, many parts of this recent adventure make me smile, and even LOL..... and suddenly I am feeling desperately sad reading about their dire situation. I was very moved!”  Mme Julia James

If you missed the first book Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure is only 99¢ until 30th June ★99c SALE EXTENDED★★

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

New Release - Two Dogs and a Suitcase: Clueless in Charente


The sequel to Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure is out now!!
****Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente.****

The title says it all: what we have and where we are. 
This book, the sequel to Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure, follows our French exploits as we endeavour to rebuild our lives in another new country, after spending four and half years in Australia. Our goal, or hope for the immediate future, is to focus positively on the present, so that we can start a new, optimistic future back in Europe. Our main aim is to be nearer to the children, leaving the dark clouds of the challenges we faced in Australia as a distant memory. Journey with us as we arrive in rural South West France; enjoy my reflections, thoughts, and observations about my family, our new surroundings, and our lifestyle. Follow the journey of my writing career and how we start our renovation project while managing our convoluted family life. Once again, we will laugh, cry, and enjoy life to the fullest with a generous helping of positive spin thrown in for good measure.

Tell your friends, and if they haven't read Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure yet they can get a copy now ★GHF on sale for NOW only 99c/77p ★

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

#WLM Author Alan Parks talks to Sarah Jane about moving to Spain, alpaca's and writing.

Welcome to my new blog feature, which puts some of the We Love Memoirs authors into the hot seat.
My first brave volunteer is Alan Parks, author of Seriously Mum, What's an alpaca? and Seriously Mum, Where's that donkey?
Hello Alan and thank you for being in the hot seat today.
Can you tell me a little about your books? 
My books came about when we were sitting with friends, telling stories, as you do. One of them said to me “You should write a book!” So I thought, “yeah why not?” I didn’t really know anything about publishing at the time, but I wrote out 50 pages and sent to some friends and family and asked for opinions. They all said carry on, so that is what I did. 
How did you come up with the titles? The first book was originally titled Bloody Hell, What’s an Alpaca? But that didn’t go down very well in the US, so I had to change it slightly and after lots of discussions we came up with Seriously Mum. When I first started writing it, I wanted to call it ‘Into the Frying Pan’ as the area where we live is referred to as The Frying Pan of Spain, so I thought it was a clever and witty title, but people might not have ‘got it’. 
Why did you choose Spain for your alpaca venture? I wanted to go and live in Florida! To be honest though, Spain was a sensible option. Loads of cheap flights, and easy to get back and forth for both visitors, and if we had any emergencies. Whenever anybody decides to move to Spain, the weather plays a big factor, and it does for us too. Sometimes we forget that most of the time it is raining in the UK. 
That's very true Alan!!
What are the best and the worst aspects of keeping alpacas? Well, they are lovely and a wonderful addition to our life! But of course, with animals, all of a sudden you are tied to the place. We haven’t been able to go away together (Lorna and I) for the last five years. Lorna visits the UK three times a year for grandchildren’s birthdays, and I am visiting the UK for the first time in over five years in just over a week. I am a little bit nervous that I won’t fit in anymore! And I am not looking forward to the possibility of rain in June. Unheard of! 
When did you start writing and was it triggered by a specific event in your life? I had never written a word until I started the book. The summer here is so hot it is hard to do anything more than just sit, so that was when I did it. So, not a particular event that triggered it, although I must say it has been quite therapeutic for coming to terms with lots of the things that have happened to us. 
Now that Lorna has launched herself into the writing world is there any friendly competition between the two of you in relation to the number of sales, etc.?
Not usually! But sales for both my books have been slow in May and Lorna’s have picked up, so she has been watching intently too.
What is your favourite time of day for writing and why?
I tend to write in the afternoons. I have lots to do around the farm, feeding and looking after animals, and working on the house, so once all the work is done, I try and fit in a couple of hours an afternoon. I try and do about 1000 words a session. 
What made you decide to become an ‘indie’ [self published] author?
I didn’t really have much choice! I did submit the first 50 pages of ‘Alpaca to Summersdale, but they turned it down. Then I found Victoria Twead at Ant Press, who helped me get my book out there. 
What are 3 of your favourite lines/quotes from either of your books?
I have only one favourite line. “She was gardening naked, pruning her rosebush….”  
What do you miss, if anything, about living in UK?
Well I had better say obviously I miss the relatives, but also I miss playing football with my friends and also I miss being able to pop along to the chippy after a long day! 

What languages can you speak and/or write?
English, just about! My Spanish is terrible, I use the old phrase “I get by.” In a face to face conversation, I can make myself understood and hopefully understand enough of what is being said to me. It is terrible really after six years.
What is your favourite book and why?
It is difficult for me to choose a favourite. I don’t tend to keep going back and re-reading books. I really enjoy crime thrillers, Michael Connelly and Peter James are good. I also like an author called Matthew Reilly, he writes high octane thrillers/sci-fi books. 
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life? 
I lost my Dad at a very young age, only 48. He was ill for a very long time, went through two liver transplants and eventually died from throat cancer. He would always say that we should ‘Live for today!’ and I have tried to do that for most of my adult life. I don’t believe in sitting around waiting for things to happen, and if you have a dream, life is too short not to try and grab that dream with both hands. 
Do you have a current writing project that you would like to share with us?
I have made a start on book number three! I have also started a memoir/fiction book about Sunday Football, which probably won’t appeal to my current readers, but might appeal to a different set of readers. 
Now Alan this it your chance to promote your current 99c sale so please give us the details:
Thanks Sarah, both Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca? And Seriously Mum, Where’s that Donkey? Are available to download from 1st June until the 8th June from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Itunes and Smashwords. 

This is basically the sentiment behind my book!

Change your life, do something exciting and brave. Buy my book, only 99c or 77p this week! Spread the word! 

Well that's about it, thank you Alan for your time. I wish you every success with you current promotion and your work in progress. I hope you will visit us again.
Sarah Jane

If you would like to contact or follow Alan Parks here are the links:
Twitter handle: @AlpacaBook
Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:

Sunday, 1 June 2014

My featured author for June is Kenneth Lim author of The North Korean

Introducing Kenneth Lim author of The North Korean.
Welcome Kenneth, and thank you for taking part in my featured author spot.

Can you tell me a little about your new book The North Korean?
I liken it to a shooting star taking a long time to reveal itself before disappearing again. I put obscure players from a little-known part of the world under a magnifying glass so that their feats and accomplishments are noticed before being buried in the slush pile of history. The setting, of course, is Choson, known to some as Korea and others as its northern manifestation. The hero, Eddie, is reflective of its people, his hopes, fears and idiosyncrasies very much theirs.

How did you come up with the title?
With the absence of a 38th parallel, no such creature as the title is called, existed then, so I allowed my favourite villain, Lieutenant Colonel Sasaki, to coin the name out of a codebook. In that part of the world, it was honourable to acknowledge a worthy opponent in a distinct way before killing him.

When did you start writing and was it triggered by a specific event in your life?
My father was a prolific writer of articles and the author of a fascinating book called “Romances of Old China,” and I took after him by creating literary pieces of my own from an overactive imagination for my school paper.

What is the biggest source of inspiration in your writing life?
Again, my father deserves credit or blame for inspiring me to write. He told me such amazing bedtime stories, I couldn’t get enough of them. I later came to understand that he was telling me his life story in increments. 

What is your favorite time of day for writing and why?
I would say between 3am and 6am. I would get out of bed after much tossing and turning with ideas demanding to be typed out on my laptop. Then the peace and quiet of the wee hours encapsulate me in a creative bubble.
How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
Or how much fiction goes into real life? Take the ill-starred martial artist Bruce Lee. His action shots had to be slowed down because his moves were just too fast at normal speed to follow. Or take the eyewitness who tempers the telling of a bizarre experience just to be believed. I would say there could be as much real life going into fiction as the other way around. The author, after all, projects himself into the characters he creates. Great answer!!!

What made you decide to become an ‘indie’ [self published] author?
Frankly, I was getting tired of the peacock dance for representation. I thought back to Edgar Allan Poe, Alexandre Dumas, Mark Twain and wondered why I couldn’t be an “indie” author like they were.

What are 3 of your favourite lines/quotes from The North Korean?
Here are 3 quotes that come to mind.

His entrails tumbled out onto the mat, and he contemplated their significance on a spreading puddle of blood. There was a haiku somewhere in the spilled guts, he thought.
Their passion was deep and dark, like a drug drawing him on to some undisclosed end. With her words, it took on a quality of effervescence, light and airy with the rightness of love, the noblest of emotions.
An acrid, pheromonal stench pervaded Eddie's nostrils, drying his throat, and he recognized the smell of fear.
What languages you can speak and write?
I know a smattering of several languages and dialects, but English is my mother tongue, both in spoken and written form. It was the language used by my parents and pressed upon the rest of us in the family.

What is your favorite book and why?
Off the top of my head, I would say “The Four Guardsmen” by Alexandre Dumas. It was a moth-eaten book in my father’s library that awakened me to a world of wonder and adventure, and I read it countless times as I grew up.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
I would give that honoured spot to my mother who taught me patience, forbearance and eternal optimism. She had “the tiger’s whisker” (look it up in my book).

Do you have a current writing project that you would like to share with us?
I’m currently working on “Deadly Windfall” (a title for the time-being) about a startling discovery on a tsunami-ravaged island, changing the lives of those affected, in many different ways. Certainly, the suicidal New Yorker thrust into the forefront of it all, finds himself with challenges that dwarf his past woes.

Do you have any advice for writers considering writing about very personal subject matter?
Pour out your heart into the first draft. Then you have a solid foundation to build on. Thus rooted, you can do your tweaking and editing while retaining your composure as sincere, passionate and true.

If you wrote your autobiography what would the last line be?
"Like the Legless Fisherman, I’ve lived to tell my tale.
Kenneth, I know many of my readers will relate to some of your answers especially those of us that write in the small hours, and those who are fortunate enough to have been inspired by their parents. I wish you every success with your books.
Sarah Jane
Get your copy of The North Korean at:
You can contact and follow Kenneth on the links below: