Back From A Break

Hey everyone!

It’s been a few months. Well, almost nine months to the day, to be exact, since I went on my break. I’ve missed you all and, I must say, it’s nice to be back. However, I think things will be slightly different this time. One of the things that caused me to take a blogging break was the pressure of having a weekly commitment – my Wednesday Wander. While I loved writing and researching the posts, and they’ve been very popular, coming up with one every week as well as sorting and editing photos started to feel like a chore. So, while I’m still travelling and seeing new places, I won’t be posting about them every Wednesday, just every once in a while. However, I’ll still be doing all my other usual rambling, as well as sharing writing stuff and whatever else comes to mind 🙂

But the main reason I took a break was that I’ve been working on another book. Several books, if I’m honest. You may already be familiar with my Ambeth YA series or A Thousand Rooms, my standalone women’s contemporary fiction novel. These have all been independently published – I’ve worked with beta readers and editors and cover designers to make them as professional and high quality as possible, and the feedback I’ve received seems to show I’m hitting the mark. However, as much as I enjoy being an indie and the creative control that comes with it, I’ve also been pursuing a dream to be traditionally published alongside my indie works.

To that end, I decided to devote several months to a book I completed last year, called The Last Raven. It’s a book about vampires, so perhaps not so red-hot in the market at the moment. Nonetheless, I had some interest last year from two publishers, as well as a couple of near-misses with agents. Both publishers initially declined but have invited me to re-submit with changes, offering valuable feedback regarding structure, as well as letting me know what they liked about the story (a lot, as it turns out).

So I took my story and pulled it apart, turned it inside out, chopped and changed the structure, increasing the level of detail and building pace. To be fair, it needed it. The story was already good, but spending three months restructuring has taken it to the next level. It’s been a fantastic learning process for me as a writer, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of the insights I’ve learned on the blog. I also had a very promising meeting with an agent earlier this year – I’d initially approached her to assess my submission package, something you can do through the Bloomsbury Writers & Artists website. I wanted to know whether it was worth my going through the submission process again with the revised version of Last Raven, and whether there would be a market for it. As it turned out, she loved what she read and requested the full manuscript! It was a thrilling and enjoyable meeting for a lot of reasons – now I’m just waiting to hear what she thinks (and trying not to refresh my email every five minutes!)

As for the other books I’m working on, I have another YA series taking shape, as well as a non-fiction book about a health issue I encountered several years ago. Basically, after a season of editing, I’m back writing again. And so it seems as good a time as any to get back to blogging, too. After all, I don’t think I’d be the writer I am without this blog and all you lovely people out there.

When I started this blog back in 2014, it was originally going to be about my journey in writing, and what I learned along the way. Since then it’s grown and developed to become much more than that, chronicling my journey through the world. But my writing journey is still ongoing, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you again.


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

31 thoughts on “Back From A Break

  1. Great to see you back here and hear all your news! You’ve been so busy and I’m glad things are sounding so promising with the new book and an agent! Breaks are essential at times—I actually wish I’d taken one last year. The creativity well gets drained and needs refilling! Onwards and upwards!

    • Thanks Louise 🙂 It’s so true about the creativity well – it does need refilling sometimes, doesn’t it? You wrote something a while back that resonated with me, about there being seasons in writing – a season for editing, a season for drafting. I feel as though I’ve just come out of a loooong editing season and am back to writing again. A little bit rusty but I’ll get there 🙂 As for the agent, the meeting couldn’t have gone any better – she was interesting in what else I was working on and we got on like a house on fire. However, I’m yet to hear anything further… How are things going with you? How’s book two coming along?

      • Book 2 is slowly, slowly getting there—I think I’m about 3/4 through a first draft. Lots of intrusions, though—mainly family, and a little self-doubt.

      • 3/4 through the first draft is great progress, Louise! Although I feel you about the family intrusions and the self-doubt – I’ve been struggling a bit with that myself. I hope things calm down for you to coast through to the end 🙂

  2. Welcome back Helen! How lovely to see you back on WP. Sounds like you’ve been fantastically busy – amazing. Can’t wait ot learn more about your WIPs and your submissions. Brilliant stuff

      • Lovely to see you back. As for me, still plodding away. Had some stories and serials bought by a women’s magazine, which has been lovely. Also had feedback from several beta readers on my WIP, so going through that and rewriting – again! Hoping to get the MS to an editor by summer, then send it out to some agents. And probably more agents and more agents … 🙂 Was interested to read about your experience with Writers and Artists. I knew they provided services like that but to get such fabulous feedback and a nibble too – just brilliant. I’ll keep everything crossed for you! 🙂

      • Gosh, I have to get back into the habit of checking comments – sorry! That’s fabulous news about your stories and serials, very nice work to get 🙂 And best of luck with your WIP, too – what’s the genre?
        The Writers and Artists thing was excellent, as it gave me an idea as to whether there was actually a market for my book, as well as being a nice glimpse inside the world of trad publishing. But now I’m in limbo, waiting….

      • I’ll keep everything crossed for you Helen 🙂 It sounds promising, and even if this lead doesn’t pay off, at least you have a nibble you can go to others with. My genre is Urban Fantasy – ghosts and demons and hell mouths. I’m hoping to get done soonish, though normal work is getting in the way at the moment. Keep us all informed as to your progress and will watch this space 🙂

      • Oo h I love urban fantasy, so am very much looking forward to reading it! And thank you – will definitely keep you posted, please let me know how you’re going, too 🙂

  3. Welcome back! I would love to read your Vampire book. Yes, there does seem to be a lull in the market right now for this genre. I think Twilight sucked it dry…no pun intended. But that happens after a big craze sometimes, don’t you think?

    • Thanks, Linda 🙂 Yes, I think Twilight did kind of kill the market for a while… but it’s been ten years since the first movie and I’m hoping it’s starting to swing around again. After all, everyone likes a sexy vampire, don’t they? 😉 And thank you, I’m thrilled that you’d want to read it!

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