Monday, 28 September 2009

Apology to our authors, customers and site visitors!

Over the last 10 days our domain received the equivalent of a "denial of service" attack when tens of thousands of email spams were sent out by a hacker who broke in to our server. We apologise to anyone who received these spams; they did not come from us! As a result our server was blacklisted by major servers around the world and our technical people spent a lot of time sorting it out, as we ourselves did with the mop-up afterwards. Now fixed, we hope!

We had to shut down two of our email addresses for a while. If you sent us an email between the 18th and 28th of September and have not received a reply, please send again.

You may have noticed you could not reach our site on and off during that time, or that you ended up facing the Sunberry Books division instead of our main site, which is our default page. Sorry about that too!

And no, it wasn't a personal attack - they simply use software to range the internet looking for passwords it can break, and then they're in. We do NOT understand what kind of people DO this! They steal our resources, blacken our listings and our name, and apparently do not care. Our security has been hugely tightened now, and hopefully their software won't find a way in again. Personally, we'd like to see these people hunted down and jailed for life, but ....!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Rose & Crown has its own blog now!

Great news! Our romance imprint, Rose & Crown, is now blog-ready. Check it out here! Keep up to date with us as we approach the launch of this imprint.

And by next year, our boating and sailing imprint will also be blogging - Boathooks Books.

Anchored and Free!

Death, and Life

Hello everyone! I can't believe it's so long since I blogged - and that once again, I'm blogging "off-topic", but both issues here have my passionate attention.

First: I am reminded that tomorrow is the 11th September, and we will all be remembering where we were when we learned of the incredible aeroplane attack(s) by Muslim terrorists, on Americans and many, many other nationalities. Me? I was at the time living temporarily in a small flat in The Strand, outside Cape Town, South Africa. Andrew telephoned me from Hartbeespoort to tell me to turn on my television; the first plane had hit the Twin Towers and at the time no-one had realised it was a terrorist attack - but as we watched, the second plane hit, and it slowly dawned that this was no accident. And gradually the news came in of the other two planes. The world was in shock; I was certainly in shock - physically and mentally and emotionally. My soul was incredulous, and the pain lasts through to this moment, and every moment I think about it.

And this is just days after the reminder of something equally horrific that happened in Rhodesia, September 3rd 1978 - the deliberate shooting down of a passenger Viscount at Kariba, by Joshua Nkomo's ZiPRA terrorist forces - and then, on the ground, the slaughter of the survivors.
Herald Herald

Perhaps, having been in the forces during the Rhodesian terrorist war, and through this appalling demonstration of indiscriminate hatred for innocent civilians (and the world's indifference!!!!), I was predisposed for this attack on American soil to affect me so deeply. Either way, the beginning of September holds three things for me: my mother's birthday, the Viscount (I was acquainted with the pilot), and 9-11.

The circle of life, and death. The insanity of hatred, the treachery of politicians, the tragedy of life cut short ... and yet the continuation of life, through birth.

Please remember, with me at this time, the families of the victims, and pray for the perpetrators.

NEXT: Following on to my previous off-topic delight about my grand-nephew: Meet Ethan!

No need to comment. :-)

I promise the next blog will be on topic: PUBLISHING!

Monday, 27 July 2009

About to achieve GREAT AUNT status!

Oh my goodness! It's all happening so fast, where did the last 8 months go? In two days' time my gorgeous niece and extreme-to-die-for-handsome nephew-in-law (??) will give birth to my first great-nephew. And on the same day this has come to my attention, we had just decided to launch our children's imprint in time for Christmas next year. Is that not fitting, that both should happen on the same day? Coincidence? I think not. ;-)

I don't yet know if a name has been chosen for the little newcomer (well, not so little, I understand - he is occasioning a C-section due to his size!), but I can't wait to welcome him! It seems so wrong that I'm so far away, across two continents (he is being born in South Africa, while I'm in England), but such is life when you belong to a gypsy-footed family. We're spread all over the world, which makes for interesting conversation but somewhat empty arms when it comes to hugging.

Never mind: I shall now not be able to concentrate on work, I'm sure ... must put this aside and get on with life, for two days at least. Am I allowed a most unprofessional, un-publisher-like, "Whoo-hooooo!"? I think so. ;-)

Monday, 15 June 2009

Winners of the Rose & Crown New Novels Competition

Absolutely thrilled to announce the winners of the Rose and Crown Books "New Novels Competition", at last! It's been hard work, but we got there.

1st Place: "Embracing Change", by Debbie Roome. Prize: £200 and publishing contract.

2nd Place: "A Flight Delayed", by Burgandy Savanna. Prize: £100 and publishing contract.

3rd Place: "Blue Freedom", by Sandra Peut. Prize: Publishing contract.

Details and downloads of excerpts are available at the Rose & Crown Books web site.

Burgandy and Savanna, if you're reading this, please contact me ASAP? Thanks!

Note to all those entrants who have asked me individually for detailed responses to their manuscripts: I'm really sorry but this would take far too much time. I am willing to do a detailed critique of your work for a very low price of £75 (and since this takes anything up to 10 hours, this really IS a very low price!) - but I simply can't do it without charging. You will be receiving a short email from me with a very brief note from the judging process, however.

The Sunpenny Short Stories competitions are still in judging; we are hoping to have results on or around the 25th of June. Thank you for your patience!

NOTE: The 2010 Rose & Crown New Novels Competition is now open for entries. Fee: £18. Deadline: 31st March 2010. Winners to be announced end of June 2010. Full details at the Rose & Crown web site.

Back to work for me ... thanks for listening!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

The WriteLink Community

Hello, Writers!

Just popping in very quickly to let you know that the new site for WriteLink is up. If you don't already know about them, go and take a look - I've been a member for several years now. It's a friendly space in which to showcase your writing, test out and get feedback, and even earn money for your work. Speaking of which, I'd better get back to the final competition judging; no time to dally ... as for you, go visit WriteLink and get your creati ve juices flowing all over the pages!

Sunday, 31 May 2009

No time to blog - judging at full speed!

Hello! Sorry everyone, madly busy with final judging on our writing competitions. They were due to be released end of May, and we now have the short lists, but I anticipate another 2 weeks (to mid-June) before final results are out. Meanwhile, no time to blog ... catch up with us later; don't shoot the messenger! :-)

Meanwhile, I'm conducting an interest poll - w'ere introducing full colour gift books that combine beautiful images (themed) with Sudoku. Our first offering is "Sudoku for Bird Lovers", followed by "Sudoku for Sailors", and we have plans for many others, but we need to know how popular these might be. Let us know if you think this is a good idea, and what themes you might like to see - horses? Ballet? Ice skating? Cats? Dogs? etc ...

Check out our online store and let us know what you think - more methods of payment? (I'm adding the ability to purchase with credit cards without having to be a member of anything, via Nochex and Kagi.) Prices right? Other thoughts?

Back to competition judging ... check back soon!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Birthday Blessings!

Today I have reached the wise old age of 51 (I must be postitively a sage!), and sitting here with my morning coffee I can look out over my balcony and see a gorgeous sunny morning that has spread itself like a blanket of light over the park and water below, and sprinkled itself among the trees that surround Womack Staithe. Pic below taken this morning!

The breeze is lifting the Rhodesian Flag I proudly fly from my patio, and carrying birdsong and boat noises to my willing ears. (Yes, I know this is backwards; it's taken from behind the flag, because if I were in front of it I'd be on the roof of the fishing tackle shop! lol!)

For some reason unknown to me, last night I slept 8 hours straight (anyone who knows me well, knows that achieving 4 good hours in a row is about the best it usually gets) - Blessing Number One: I am rested!

Knowing that hubby is working in London and therefore is not with me today, my daughter has slathered presents and flowers and messages all over me in the hopes I'll get a birthday tan of happiness (it worked!). I've had birthday messages from school buddies of loooooong ago, back in Rhodesia ... and my best friend Lucy is driving across from Bunwell to meet me for lunch, which will be taken at the Swan in Horning. (Hello, Christine!) ... and I haven't even had time yet for either breakfast, or for checking out all the e-cards I've been sent. Even CP gave me a birthday voucher of $5 (ooooh!). I'd rather have one from DAZ3D of course, but I don't think they give birthday vouchers! Har!

Create 3D Art for Free

I have not had time to think about work yet today, and in fact am under instruction from my daughter Luana NOT to think about work. So I am avoiding thinking about work - at least until after lunch. ;-)

I do intend to put another writers' tip up on the Sunberry Books blog today, but if it's not there till tomorrow - forgive an aging birthday girl. Lunch will have been one bridge too far ... especially since I'm planning on having the twice-roast duck on a bed of sweet potato ...

... and NO SALAD AT ALL! har!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The Sunberry Blog

As I slowly work my way through the pile of manuscripts on my reading list, it strikes me over and over how astonishing it is that so many would-be writers haven't taken the time to learn the basic courtesies concerning submitting their work.

Why would any writer want to gain mental black marks before the publisher even begins reading? Wouldn't you think they'd rather make a good first impression? Fascinating! When there are so many books out there to teach new writers their trade, so much information on the internet for those who can't afford the books - anyone with half a noggin can find out what they need to know. Come on guys, make the effort! I love reading your stuff, but to be honest, I'd love it a whole lot more if it was neatly and properly presented in a way that makes it easiest for me to read and enjoy.

I've just written about this on the Sunberry Tips for Authors and Writers Blog, giving the basic rules for submitting a book manuscript, and will over the next weeks continue to give info from a publisher's perspective on that blog, so if you're interested can I suggest you click to "Follow", so you receive notification whenever I put something up? (You might want to do that for this blog, too.)

Vent over. Back to the reading pile ... which I do truly love, believe it or not! LOL!

Write on!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

#BlogNor09: Blogging Norfolk!

Just discovered this site today, sadly quite late before I was able to join and take advantage of the special 23rd April day! Living on Womack Staithe, on the Broads, and having lived in rural countryside previously (also in Norfolk of course), I have a great love for this area. Starting our publishing company here has been a great joy, and we'll soon be releasing the first novel of our first Norfolk novelist, Christine Moore - who also lives on the Broads.

Christine's book, "Going Astray", is a thriller that starts out nice 'n slow and moves on into high suspense and drama. A Christian family finds itself carried along as their church is taken over and then becomes a cult - can they all escape in time, alive?

We're also working with another Norfolk writer on his book about owning a riverboat hire company in the Broads. What can I say? We love Norfolk!

And just to make you completely envious, here's a shot taken from our balcony just the other week. And no, you can't invite yourself over. Well, not unless you bring coffee cake! :-)

London Book Fair - over at last!

I see that my last post was a month ago - my excuse is that during that time, between preparations for the London Book Fair, releasing Rowland Evans's latest book "My Sea Is Wide"; driving up and down to Yorkshire to see my father (who is now in respite/rehab care there, waiting to move down to a care home in Norfolk to be near us), searching for the right care home for him, the writing competitions coming to their close, and in between normal work - well, I haven't had a lot of time or energy left, lol! But you can follow our Tweets on Twitter (link to the left of this post), make friends with us on Facebook, or watch our web site for all the latest news. Back soon! Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Survival of the Pigheaddedest, and: Moving Day Approaches!

As many of you will have seen from our web sites, we are moving premises (and home!) at the end of February. Although this was a rather sudden decision, we felt we could manage in the 28 days from date of decision. Of course, we hadn't counted on the sky falling on our heads (i.e. Life As She Is!) ... my father deciding this was a good month in which to approach death's door, and thus various family members arriving from around the world and expecting all arrangements to be taken care of by the Resident Daughter in the UK ... me. Not that I mind; I just wish it had all happened NEXT month, when we'd have been safely ensconced in our new home, with lots of extra beds to offer, and the move (and all encumbent arrangements for) all behind us.

All this comes right after our discovery in November that the funds we had planned on to carry out all our lovely publishing contrivances for the rest of this year would not in fact be realised, due to the bank crashes. So the last few months have been very trying as we have been making hard decisions - do we close down and give up? Or do we fight, and find new ways to survive and continue, even if they aren't what we would prefer to be doing?

We chose to survive, and although we're working out details still, we now have a way forward. We apologise heartily to all those who have had manuscripts with us for such a long time; during the last few months we have done NO manuscript readings at all. However, once the move is over, we'll be getting back into a rhythm and will be contacting everyone we haven't yet communicated with. Please be a little more patient? :-)

Competition entries, likewise, have been received but not officially acknowledged yet. I am trying to get to it, I promise!

My father is still in hospital, in Yorkshire - about 4-5 hours' drive from here. I am traipsing up and down, between moving arrangements, and trying to keep up with urgent work. Things are very much in the air right now, including my stress level ... blood pressure, blood sugar, etc, ha ha!

And so I must stop blogging, and move on. Bear with me, please; you are much appreciated!