Search

Sarah Dixon

Writer

Category

Blog

Alfie Slider and the Frozen Prince – available NOW

Unleashed 2018The official launch date for Frozen Prince is the 12th of August 2018 – the day I’ll have physical copies to sign and sell at York Unleashed. The Kindle edition of the book will be available then, too.

But the paperback version can be ordered NOW from Amazon!

I’m sorry that I can’t offer signed copies before Unleashed – but if you want to bring your copy of either book along on the day, I’ll scribble in it for you then.

Alfie_Slider_and_the_Cover_for_Kindle

Alfie Slider and the Frozen Prince

 Publication Date – August 12th 2018

Kindle Edition now available to pre-order

Alfie_Slider_and_the_Cover_for_Kindle

Challenging Times

2018 continues the trend of 2017 in being challenging on my time. I’m balancing my most important job (being a Mummy to two amazing kids) with full-time work and studying for my MA. Writing fiction, outside my studies, had fallen by the wayside.

So in January, I set the intention to enter more writing competitions and to foster my creative fiction again. I signed up for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge, which is a competition I enjoy a lot as it stretches me. You’re assigned a genre, setting, and character and have to craft a story up to a word limit, in a number of days. In round 1, I was allocated to heat 5. The genre was mystery, the setting was opening night, and I had to include a character who was a sommelier.

It’s not a genre that I have read much of, but the sommelier came very strongly into my mind and the story coalesced around him. The ending surprised me, and I have been told it surprised readers, too. I would share it with you here, but I think with a little work I would like to enter it elsewhere and some competitions consider sharing on your blog to be prior publication.

The judges like it! I got some very encouraging feedback and placed first in my heat. The field of thousands has been narrowed down to 625 for round 2, and I’ve been given the genre of historical fiction, I need to include a negotiation and the character of a whaler. I can feel the setting taking shape beautifully in my mind, and I think I know what story I want to tell. I’m looking forward to writing it over the next three days.

I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to do what I love all day, to write. Whether it’s blog posts, grant applications or bids & tenders I get real joy from finding the way to communicate ideas. But I will admit, there is something about writing stories; knowing that I am giving people a little mental holiday to a world of my own creation, that is very special. I hope to be able to spend more time doing that, very soon.

 

New Book!

Apologies if that title made you think Frozen Prince was out. Not quite yet. I’d been hoping to release it at the end of January but then Aussie ‘flu struck and that went out the window. I’ll let you know as soon as I have a firm date.

IMG_2557[1]No, the new book I’m talking about this time is ‘The Wishing Star’ a novel written by 19 different authors, all writing a chapter (occasionally two) to complete the story.
It’s a YA mystery/romance with a female protagonist and lots of tension. If you’d like to get hold of a copy you can order directly from the National Association of Writers’ Groups, here.

 

Thawing the Prince

You know that phrase, ‘The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry?’ Well, that’s been my mantra for 2017.

January got off to a great start with Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter being published, and I had intended to spend the rest of the year promoting that book and getting Alfie Slider and the Frozen Prince ready to publish.

Then things went awry.

Rather than having a year to establish myself as an author, I’ve had a year where I’ve been setting up a freelance writing business and adjusting to some pretty major life changes. It’s been tough.

The good news in that last sentence? The past tense. I now have a thriving freelance business that supports me and my kids. Life is no longer quite so tough. And I’m now able to take some deep breaths, look at where I am and think about what I want to achieve; not what I need to.

What I want to achieve? Continuing my work as an author alongside being a kick-ass mother and an incredible freelancer. So, today I opened the Scrivener file that holds the manuscript for Frozen Prince and I started editing.

I’ve gotta say, that first chapter is pretty exciting!

I’m aiming to get Frozen Prince published on January 20th, 2018 – 1 year after Shape Shifter became a real thing. Watch this space for more news (or sign up for the Alfie Slider newsletter to get a chance to be a beta-reader!)

And Shape Shifter? Well, in spite of being largely neglected it is selling well and has had some wonderful reviews. If you haven’t already snagged yourself a copy then grab one now. You won’t have long to wait for a sequel 🙂

Why?

If you’ve been visiting our blog for a while, you’ll remember that I was shortlisted for a York Women Mean Business award.

ywmbshortlistAt the time, the categories were related to what you did, and I’d been put in the ‘Business Support’ category. I was flattered, and immediately wrote off any idea of winning because the other women in the category were all so incredible.

Friday the 10th of November rolled around, and I had the privilege of being in a room with hundreds of female entrepreneurs. We had a wonderful evening of fun, dancing and celebrating each other.

When it came to time to announce the winners, the fabulous event organiser Tracy Burleigh, Business Consultant (and if you need someone to help you find your path or your buzz for your business then she’s the lass for you) said the panel of judges had decided to change the categories.

Faced with all the incredible talent in the YWMB group, they’d felt inadequate to judge on quality. So, Tracy did what she does, which is to find a way that works better. The panel agreed to new categories.

I ended up in ‘The why’. That was a group of entrepreneurs who had blown the judging panel away with their motivation for their work. My full answer to the ‘why’ question is long but it can be summarised in this extract:

I have found that what I love is writing, plain and simple. Truth, fiction, it really doesn’t matter. I love seeking out the stories and telling them for people.

When I was called up to stand beside the other ‘Why’ ladies, I knew I wasn’t going to win. There were amazing people like Andrea Morrison in the line-up and one of my favourite people, Emi Ralph.

girls-compete-women-empowerEmi was the first friend I made after moving to York. She’s a remarkable person, full of passion and creativity. She has her own business, Mama Pixie, where she makes gorgeous things out of fabric. She’s also a doula, supporting women with their birth choices. She’s fabulous at both.

Emi won the award, and I completely agree with that decision. Had I won, I would have had the worst case of imposter syndrome! I was absolutely delighted to win a prize in the raffle though, a fabulous selection of re-usable kit from I am Reusable.

Friday was a great day for me. I signed a contract for a new associate role, which is going to open up some amazing opportunities to do what I love. I got to spend a wonderful evening in the company of like-minded women and I danced past midnight like no one was watching.

I certainly feel like a winner.

Busy with business!

Hello!

It’s been a while. Poor old Alfie Slider has had to take a bit of a back seat for a while as I have been setting up and establishing my freelance writing business. If you like my style and would like blog posts or articles written by an enthusiastic, geeky, amateur futurist (or you just fancy reading them) then pop over to Words Which Work and you can find out more about that.

I’m happy to say that the work side of things is going very well. I have a viable business set up in just a few months with some lovely regular clients and plenty of variety. I’ve also been shortlisted for an award! In November I’ll find out if I’ve won a York Women Mean Business Celebration Award in the category of Business Support.

IMG_2058[1]

Which is not to say that I haven’t been doing anything at all for Alfie. For example, last month I had a wonderful day at York Unleashed the Third. Not only did I get to talk to people, sell and sign book and admire the amazing costumes but I also met Peter Davison! He is my Doctor, and I had the honour of thanking him in person for that and gifting him with a copy of Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter. The book wouldn’t have happened without Doctor Who, and I wouldn’t have loved Doctor Who so much without Peter.

IMG_2059[1]

And this week I had the great pleasure of standing alongside several of my York Writers colleagues for an evening at Waterstones, York. We had a full house of lovely, enthusiastic people and I read some of Alfie, I chatted about writing and answered their questions. Then I got to watch as someone took a book to the till and it was rung through. Witnessing a book being sold through a big chain bookstore was a great experience!

20170921 Waterstones

So work is still ongoing on Alfie Slider and the Frozen Prince, I’ve got a plot outline for Alfie 3, I’m still writing with Dan Crow (hoping to be finished by the end of this year!) and my MA in Creative Writing starts up again next month.

As you can see it isn’t that I’m not posting because I have nothing to say, just that I need to do something wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey to fit everything in!  Coming up next: A return to Headlands Primary school for more Hero workshop fun. Get in touch if you’d like me to come and visit your school, library or bookshop for something similar.

Red Ribbon Winner – Wishing Shelf Awards 2016

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter is a Red Ribbon Winner in this year’s Wishing Shelf Book Awards!

‘Fast-paced and exciting. A Red Ribbon Winner and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

For these awards the book is read and reviewed by a qualified panel and the reason I love it? Qualified in this case means children. Here’s the feedback that I got…

Title: Alfie Slider vs The Shape Shifter

Author: Sarah Dixon

Star Rating: 4 Stars

Number of Readers: 16

Stats

Editing: 8/10
Writing Style: 9/10
Content: 8/10
Cover: 5/10

Of the 16 readers:
14 would read another book by this author.
5 thought the covers were good or excellent.
15 felt it was easy to follow.
12 would recommend them to another reader to try.
16 thought the opening chapter was very exciting.
14 felt this author understands what children enjoy reading.

Readers’ Comments

‘The opening chapter on the spaceship is sooooo exciting.’ Boy, aged 11

‘I didn’t like the cover or the blurb. But I read the story anyway and I liked it a lot. The first chapter is exciting. Then it drops off a bit. Then it is exciting all the way to the end. The writing style is easy to follow, and this author is very good at making the adventure really exciting. I will read other books by her.’ Boy, aged 12

‘I like sci-fi so this a perfect for me. And it was!!!!! Loved the story, loved the characters and I loved the ending. Not too long, not too short. Also, not too descriptive with plenty of speech. Boring cover though.’ Boy, aged 12

‘This is a gem of a book. Ignore the poor cover and badly-written blurb and delve in. This author can write. Her descriptive work is excellent, and she can balance speech and pacey adventure well. Tons of imagination too. Repackage it and this will do well.’ Publisher, aged 53

‘I liked many things. The chapters are not too long so I can read it before I go to sleep. Also, there’s so much happening on every page. I never get bored.’ Girl, aged 12

I was 1 point away from being a finalist, and all I can think is that by sending the PDF ‘Advanced Review Copy’ rather than a physical book or finished eBook, the cover didn’t look as amazing as I know it is. I haven’t met anyone who didn’t love the cover!

Rather than dwelling on that, though, I am just delighted with how the readers responded to the story. It’s a real boost now we’re approaching six months of publication to get such great feedback and to win this accolade. A boost to my confidence just as I needed one!

Yor-Kon 2017

We’ve been going to York Unleashed since it started in 2014, but it was special last year. It was special because I’d just signed the contract to get Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter published and I realised that I could attend next year (now this year!) as a trader. Even a year out I was getting excited at the idea of being part of something that had come to be one of the highlights of our family year, so when I saw that there was a new comic-con event planned for York I got in touch straight away.

Paul and Bethany, the organisers, were very friendly and asked if I would be a bigger part of the event. I offered to do a reading and Q&A, and gave some thought about how best to display the stall. Then time went into fast forward and before I knew it, it was the day itself!

IMG_1905[1]

So there we are! As you can see I had the full support of the kids, my eldest tried to wear his Alfie cosplay but it was too hot insde so that ended up being part of the stall instead 🙂 They love comic-cons, but this one had a game area with a great group of people who taught them both how to play the Pokemon card game which kept them busy.

IMG_1911[1]

When the time came for my reading, I got up to the stage and introduced myself to two rows of empty chairs. As the con was pretty quiet I’d prepared myself for that. I’d made some notes so that I had things to say, even if noone asked questions. It wasn’t going to bother me!

And then I started speaking, and the PA sounded ridiculously loud. It started fine, people stopped what they were doing and turned to listen. I spoke and then started reading…and slowly the noise of the con re-asserted itself over the PA. I finished the first reading, asked if there were any questions – there weren’t. I babbled something about where the stall was and disappeared from the stage. Blergh!

So, that part didn’t really go how I had intended but the rest of the day was great fun. I got to enjoy all the other speakers and performers, and chat to some lovely people who came by the stall. I was helped by being next to Martin Ballantyne, an actor who had been in both Harry Potter and Batman. I learned from listening to how he interacted with people, and from the time people spent waiting to talk to him, looking at my stall!

I’m hoping that Yor-Kon comes back next year, I’d love to do it again.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑