Thursday, 14 October 2010

Happy Publication Day to me!

Yay...the hardback of SOMEONE ELSE'S SON is published today. And to celebrate (apart from chocolate with my coffee...heavens, I know how to live it up) here's a link to my fabulous new book trailer.

Do let me know what you think! It will be on my website very soon and on Amazon etc. It's weird but very cool to see images that literally seem to have come from my head when I was writing this book suddenly translated into a video clip. And talking of book trailers, it's still not too late to vote for your fave from the four finalists over on the
Foyle's Book Video Awards site...cough S J Bolton...cough...

A nice review from the
Northern Echo here and a reminder of the competition over at the Euro Crime site to win a hardback copy of my new book. Another competition at the wonderful Book Club Forum site but hurry as this one ends today! Michelle from BCF has also written a review and you can read it here.

There's also going to be a review in the Sun this Friday I believe and also in Bella and Stylist magazines as well as the Daily Mail at some point. And finally some other nice news to reveal...TELL TALE has sold to Norway!

Sam x

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Foyles Book Trailer Awards

Being the seat-of-the-pants gal that I am, I totally meant to blog about this before now. But totally didn't. Anyway, better late than I insist that you go immediately to the Foyles website and take a look at the amazing (and I do mean amazing!) book trailers that have made it into the final of the 2010 video awards.

There are four finalists and each clip is of such a high standard, you'd think they were for a major Hollywood production. I've already voted for my favourite, Blood Harvest by S. J. Bolton. Sharon tells me
"A very talented young German student has produced a fabulous trailer for my latest book and it's got through the the final four of the Awards."
A talented student indeed - just look at it! Seriously sinister. And being a CWA finalist for the Gold Dagger award makes this book doubly exciting.

Why am I so enthused by book trailers currently? Because I've been trying to 'direct' a trailer for my latest book. I tell you, it's easier to write the damn book than it is to chop it up into three second clips and come up with a few punchy words. Of course, with a budget of exactly zero pounds, it is proving...interesting. But thanks to the resourcefulness and talent of my techie other half, we very nearly have a minute and a half of gritty trailer to let loose very soon for this week's publication of SOMEONE ELSE'S SON.

Meantime, as I said, I insist you hop over to the National Book Video Awards voting page before OCTOBER 15th (this coming Friday!), take a look at the clips, agree with me whole-heartedly about S.J. Bolton's being the best...and vote! It only takes a second and actually gets you very excited about reading the books. And for more information on Sharon and her thrillers, she has a fab website and blog here.

And talking of trailers...I'll soon be posting news of an exciting 'blog trail' where you can read excerpts from my new novel!
Sam x

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Library Events

Just a quick mention of two libraries that's I'll be visiting in October. On 20th October I'll be at Dudley Library between 10am and 12 noon talking about SOMEONE ELSE'S SON.

Then on 21st October (evening) I'll be at Rugby Library with Judith Allnatt discussing our work, including my new book. Our styles and subject matter are very different indeed so should make for a varied and interesting evening! Contact the library for details on 01788 533250.

Friday, 24 September 2010


It's been a funny old week. One where lots has been done but has left me wondering if anything's actually been achieved. As for actual creative words, there have been some - mostly in the form of New Novel - and some in the form of a Christmas (yes Christmas!) short story. What I really need to get my head around (and dear agent, forgive me if you're reading this) is a synopsis.

The synopsis is a strange thing. The dictionary says it's a brief summary of the main points of a written work. Absolutely correct, of course, but it's way more than that when you're trying to capture not only the main plotlines and how they all hang together, but also convey the tone, setting, suspense and feel of the novel. And really, no one likes to read a synopsis that's more than a couple of pages long. Lengthy descriptions of characters and scenery are a big no-no and the worst bit is, you have to
give away the ending. When you don't even know it. Hence synopsis-avoidance syndrome in my house this week.

With the
Frankfurt Bookfair (don't you love 'Buchmesse'?) drawing near, much talk in the trade mags is about ebooks and pricing and basically how it's all going to work. When ebooks were just a twinkle in the publisher's eye, no one really knew how it would pan out. Now it's panning, potentially quite nicely, authors just want it to be fair. For everyone. We all work hard. Everyone has a part to play. I have a Sony ereader and to be honest, I don't use it nearly as much as I should. Not because I prefer the feel of a book (although that's nice) but because I can't get the books I want for it at a reasonable price. But hark at me, the author, complaining about high prices! We all expect £4 supermarket paperbacks to be the norm since the NBA did a runner. What do we expect with ebooks? The truth is, I don't think anyone really knows yet.

I got rather excited yesterday when a delivery man called with the familiar boxes that I knew instantly contained my hardback author copies of SOMEONE ELSE'S SON. I lugged them into the kitchen, snipped the tape and spent an indulgent few moments handling them very carefully. They smell and look gorgeous. And eldest She-Devil was delighted when she saw the dedication. This one's for her.

Talking of the hardback, as I type it's now reduced by £5 on
Amazon. A bit of a bargain for such a quality read so why not get ahead of yourselves and bag a few for Christmas pressies? Pre-ordering is easy and you'll receive your copies mid-October. Plus, if you email me your address and what you want me to say, I'll personalise and sign a book plate for you to include. A treat for you or a loved-one. (Sorry, I'm a serious sales slut at the moment.)

So the week's drawing to a close and I'm off to gather the harvest. She-Devil # 1 asked me to bring 'stuff' to school as a matter of urgency for Sunday's harvest festival. Here's me thinking giant home-grown marrows (of which there are none so it would be off to the market) and bunches of fresh carrots are a good idea. But no, they want tins and packets. Doesn't exactly conjure images of thankful farmers praying to the
veg gods but hey, it allows me to clear out the cupboard (all in date, of course) and dontate to the cause.

Have a good weekend, all, and I'll be back soon with dates of library visits and other booky stuff.

Sam x

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

L is for Launch Day

Following on with my (rather leisurely) A-Z of publishing and book-related posts, I thought it quite timely that L should be for Launch Day.

My next novel, SOMEONE ELSE'S SON, will be released in hardback on 14th October and so launches (oh ok, champagne!) are on my mind. I'm thinking about celebrations...most likely a private room in a swanky London club, champagne cocktails for the couple of hundred gliterati that will have been clamouring for an invite for weeks, an emotional speech from me in my new designer dress thanking publishers, my agent, my mum, my kitten...

OK, so the budget's not quite there but that doesn't mean to say I can't drink some nice champers on the 14th and feel all warm and gooey inside because people will finally be reading this book (I'm quite proud of it, you see). And I'm more of a jeans gal anyway, which set me thinking that an online launch party would be just the ticket.

Will I get the whole world raising a glass to their monitors on 14th October? I doubt it, but if I can gain some new readers, chat with some good friends, connect with writing clubs, book groups and forums, and reach as many book fans as possible, then I will be happy. So next month, expect daily tweets and blogs, exclusive excerpts, signed copies up for grabs, the odd competition or two, interviews and perhaps an 'author at home' video. I'll be lurking around book forums (the Book Club Forum is a fab place!), hopefully coercing a few fellow authors into writing some guest blog posts, stalking literary types on Facebook and generally being a bit of a web-slut. Oh, and I have a couple of library events coming up in October too so will post details about those very soon.

Meantime, feel free to add me on Twitter or Facebook and don't forget to pre-order your hardback or paperback copy of SOMEONE ELSE'S SON!

Sam x

Thursday, 29 July 2010


I thought I'd share the amazing cover of my new novel SOMEONE ELSE'S SON. Isn't it fab? Quite different from my other covers but totally screams out (in a very clever way) that it's an emotional thriller and something pretty disturbing has happened. It's published in the UK in hardback on the 14th October and will be released in Australia and New Zealand in December - odd to think of it as a summer read over there when we'll be rugged up with fireside reads here! The UK paperback edition will be in the shops from the 3rd February.

Here's what the Amazon description says:

A tense and powerful emotional thriller that asks: Do we ever really know our children?

There must have been some mistake... TV presenter Carrie Kent can’t believe the voice on the end of the phone. Surely it didn’t just say that her son – her beloved son Max – has been stabbed within his school gates? This sort of thing happens only to the guests on her daily morning chat show. Not to someone like her boy. But when Carrie arrives at the hospital and learns that Max is dead, she is thrown into a nightmare. No one will reveal what really happened and the only witness, a schoolgirl, is refusing to talk. Carrie must enter an unknown world of fear and violence if she wants to find the truth. But can she live with what she discovers?

I've been told by several early readers that it' best book yet (no, not my mum!). I love all my books dearly - rather like my kids and, as an author, it's hard to choose between them - but I always strive to make my current book my best work. Sometimes it's hard and issues need to be resolved (technically known as ripping it up and starting again) and other times everything goes to plan and the book seems to sail from my head straight to the bookshop shelves - via a brilliant and dedicated team at Headline, of course. SOMEONE ELSE'S SON was a sailing moment and I really can't wait for it to hit the shelves. Be sure to tell everyone about it!

You can pre-order either edition of my new novel over at Amazon (and why not order any of my other three thrillers while you're there!). Don't forget to let me know what you think when you've read it.

For me, one of the highlights of being an author is actually getting out there and meeting my readers. I still kind of get a dizzy high from realising that yes, people buy, read and enjoy my novels and I'm excited to have several events coming up in the autumn to promote SOMEONE ELSE'S SON. I'll put up the details when everything's confirmed.

Meantime, the summer holidays roll by in a blur of trips, piles of washing, ferrying kids and keeping up with my writing. I'm lucky to work from home and, while my kids are old enough to be pretty independent, I take my hat off to all the mums who juggle work, childcare and school holidays. It's not an easy feat.

Sam x

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

K is for Keeping it Together - Guest Post by author Neil Ayres

Sam has kindly and rather wonderfully let me take up some valuable space on her blog, ostensibly to do a guest post, but in reality to pimp my new book, which is for the present time actually unavailable as a hard copy. It’s a part of an iPhone app, see, which has lots of other stuff on it, all appropriately enough related to the book. There’s the wonderful cover photography by Nicole Heiniger, the fab illustrations by Johanna Basford, a bespoke music track by Rich Watson and a brilliant, overlooked novelette by Miguel Cervantes (he’s the guy what wrote Don Quixote). All this content has been corralled into order by all-round clever chap Russell Quinn.

But I did promise a guest post, and I know Sam has been working intermittently on her alphabet of publishing. It appears we’re on K. Sam was going to go with Kill Your Darlings, but I’m much too weak for that, and prefer to let them stumble around in the limbos of unfinished stories. More appropriate for me is…

Keeping it together

As with many authors, writing is not my day-job. I have a family to feed and a house to keep out of the hands of the re-possessors. The New Goodbye, the novel included in the app of the same name, took me a good few years to write, in and around working full-time in magazine publishing, getting married and becoming a father and running an online zine. Although not calling for a similar amount of intellectual application or soul-searching, producing the app has been as time consuming, and required managing the various strands that comprise the app. And if anything following its release a couple of weeks ago, the demands are even greater. There’s chasing up publicity, trying to arrange a deal with a mutually beneficial book retailer (fingers crossed that one will come off) and producing a music video that will be included in an update of the app next month.

In and around all this, and writing guest blogposts and the like, my own blog, I’ve somewhat neglected my own blog, which I share with Aliya Whiteley, and the project blog set up to promote the app. Needless to say, as for any ‘real’ writing, I’ve managed very little.

In addition to the marketing budgets assigned to her book, a commercially successful writer like Sam will be in the fortunate position of having a publicity team to work on her profile and secure coverage for her in the national and trade press. Lower down the pecking order though, new and mid-list authors are expected to do most of this work themselves. In addition to writing good, commercially viable novels they have to in some way try and maintain a media profile. Most often the way to do this is by social media, and few are lucky enough to have even a handful of media contacts to help them along their way. Even with these contacts, such as I’m in the fortunate position to have, actually getting coverage for a book is by no means a given, and without an interesting angle to a story, untested authors are going to lose out to established names or the current crop of zeitgeist-riding writers. It’s just not enough to have a good book out.

This isn’t necessarily fair, it’s just the way the media, and the trades that rely on them, work. Publishing success is often more about public word of mouth than media coverage, which is often soothing to an artist’s ego but doesn’t necessarily put readers in front of their work or cash in pockets. Having a huge author with a news story very much of the moment won’t necessarily translate into sales. Like my own novel, Hilary Mantel’s ManBooker prize-winner Wolf Hall has recently been released as an iPhone app. The difference is, people are downloading my app but not hers. To me, the reasons are obvious. I have an iPhone-friendly short novel with a batch of interesting, complementary multimedia features created from other artist’s interpretations of my themes. And, perhaps more importantly, it’s the type of book of relevance and interest to the iPhone-owning demographic of young professionals and parents. Oh, and it comes as a free sampler with the full all-singing and dancing edition costing just £1.79.

Mantel’s book is about five times longer than my own, not exactly conducive to a pleasant reading experience on the small iPhone screen. And, forgive me for generalising, but its core readership is likely to be comprised of middle-aged traditionalists unlikely to be keen to surrender their printed books for de rigeur technology.

It’s early days for The New Goodbye. My hope is that the bookshop deal I’m trying to put together comes off and that eventually a publisher picks the book up for print publication. But for now I’m just happy that people are downloading the app and getting to see the great, collaborative work that has been involved in putting it together.

Related links

Download the app here:

Official blog:

Neil’s blog:







Friday, 7 May 2010

Win a set of DVDs!

The lovely people at Headline are running a competition for you to win a set of DVDs for your mum! My books are all about family and relationships and tragic things that can blow apart families--the reality of modern-day living that so many people, whatever their background, have to struggle through. So why not show your mum how much you care and have a bash at the competition. Still plenty of time left to enter and good luck! Let me know if you win.

This month sees me in the June edition of
Woman & Home magazine again. Perhaps I should have a regular column! The feature is about something that's looming in the next few months in our household - Empty Nest Syndrome. I can hardly believe that my eldest is nearly nineteen and will be moving out this September. Why is no one else round here bothered about this? Two other women also tell their personal tales of what it's like or will be like to have teens fly the nest...something that everyone with kids has to face one day. I just never thought it would happen so quickly. He was a baby a minute ago! (Sorry, Ben.)

And, while I haven't seen a copy, apparently my short story was in the Sunday Express S Magazine last weekend. A quirky little tale about a couple's return trip from their honeymoon. I called it 'Long Haul'.

Finally, I was in WH Smith a little earlier and squealed in delight when I saw
Adam Nevill's book Apartment 16 in the charts. Go Adam! He's such a great writer (used to be my editor at Virgin) and this book deserves to do really well. Of course I bought it and can't wait to get stuck in...when I've finished the final proofs of my next one.

Have a good weekend!

Sam x

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Another TELL TALE review

My publicist alerted me to this great review on the Crime Squad website. (Scroll down a bit)

Meanwhile, kids are now all back at school so writing can begin again in earnest - although I still do write in the holidays, I never seem to get quite as much done! And thanks to everyone who's emailed me about TELL TALE. It's so good to receive nice feedback.

And do feel free to add me/follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Just a quickie to share this rather nice review... Sums TELL TALE up very well, I think.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Paperback Publication Day!

It feels a little like my birthday today but without gaining a year - TELL TALE is out today in paperback and is straight in the Asda paperback charts at number 18! I think I might have to take a little grocery shopping trip later and see the evidence in real life. You'll also be able to find it in the WH Smith chart section as well as the other usual book retailers. Feels a little odd not to include Borders in the list.

If you buy a copy from
Amazon, you can read an excerpt now (although for some reason it doesn't include the prologue!) and watch a little video of me trying to describe the story without giving all the plot twists away!

Finally, not long to go now until my
double act with the lovely Sophie Hannah, who I had the pleasure of meeting and watching in action a little while ago. Should be a great evening in Birmingham, so if you're around, do come to the event. It's free!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Book of the Month

Just a quickie to say that TELL TALE has been chosen as Book of the Month over at the brilliant Crime Files website. I've been getting some amazing fan mail from those who have already read it - mostly from the southern hemisphere as it came out at the end of last year downunder.

And a reminder of a review that went up at the excellent Book Club Forum a little while ago...just to give you a taste of the book without giving too much away - something I always find hard to do at talks!

Only 9 days to go!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Count down to TELL TALE publication!

Two weeks today and the paperback of TELL TALE will be out there in the shops. The best places to buy it will be Asda, WH Smith, Waterstones and Amazon as well as your local indie bookshop. If they don't have it, ask!

To celebrate, Headline's wonderful Crime Files blog have put up a short story I wrote recently called A Place at the Table. It's a little shocker! (haha, I hope!) Why not have a cuppa, have a read, and let me know what you think.

Also, there's a short video clip of me at home talking about TELL TALE over on my website. If you click on books, then the TELL TALE cover, then toggle through the pages, you'll find it. It's such a hard book to describe without giving too much away but I hope it gives you a bit of a taste! I've had great feedback from those who have read it so let me know what you think.

There are quite a few things happening around publication time and one event that I'm really excited about is a talk at
Birmingham Library Theatre with Sophie Hannah. I love Sophie's books and met her a little while ago at another talk she was doing. She's very entertaining and I'll try to be, too! We'll be doing readings, talking about our books, and answering audience questions. There'll also be a chance to buy our books and get them signed. Do try to come alone as I'd love to meet some more readers!

Meantime, I've begun work on my new book (next but one after TELL TALE!) I have a title, I have a detailed synopsis, I have a very accurate plan of where each chapter is going, I have character sheets and! How unusual. I did plan my previous four novels to a certain extent but thought I'd try something a little different this time. I wanted to see if it had any bearing on the actual time taken to write the book. I suspect it will have as so far, knowing exactly what I'm writing about each day, is making it fly along.

More soon!

Sam xx

Monday, 1 February 2010


So I went to meet with lots of journalists at the Groucho Club last week for a 'sparkling evening' hosted by my lovely publishers Headline (who have a snazzy new website, btw). Well, it all made a rather nice change from my local caff. Anyway, I was under strict instructions from both my She-Devils to keep an eye open for the Rpattz or, at the very least, rub my hands on lots of door handles, not wash them before I got home, and make sure I passed on the hopefully collected - what, skin cells, DNA? - to the She-Devils. How odd.

I came to the conclusion, apart from meeting a very lovely bunch of journos from all kinds of publications - everything from weight loss magazines to the Telegraph to Soap mags to the glossies - that they are all incredibly young. And beautiful. And clever. My publicist Sam Eades (who is also those things) worked tirelessly with the rest of the Headline team to make sure the evening was a success and that the eleven female authors invited were circulated in a dizzy cocktail of champagne and ideas for features and articles. It was fun. As I always say about these nice events, it gets me out the house. It gets me in a dress.

In other news, New Novel is finished. It's printed. It's in the mail. Of course, a novel is never really finished at this stage, but it's now over to my editor to work her magic and make me see things that will no doubt have me believing I've been blindfolded this last year. As ever, I feel a little odd parting with the characters and not messing with their lives on a daily basis. It (title to be revealed soon) was a harrowing book to write yet, as ever, the intention with my novels, apart from hopefully being gripping and entertaining, is that they hold a message that makes my readers think, consider, worry, laugh, and feel grateful for life. Amazon has a blurb up and also says the hardback is available on September 2nd. I'm proud of this one and can't wait to see the cover, which I'll put up here in due course.

Meantime, TELL TALE paperback release day is getting closer. This is good news because, not only do I get to see another book in the shops, but it also means that spring is here as the publication date is March 18th. Of course, the hardback edition has already been available for a couple of months and reader emails tell me that it's being very much enjoyed - all over the world! I was alerted to a nice review in Canada's Globe and Mail recently by a well-respected crime reviewer and also saw it in the Bookseller listed in the key paperbacks for 2010 section with 'top-notch sales potential'. That's fine by me. The wonderful Book Club Forum also has a review up as well as an interview with me about the novel.

So now what? Well, on with the next book! I have had a number of readers email me over the years asking if I can 'write faster'. I will certainly try! The idea is there (several of them queueing up, actually) - and, even if I say so myself - this one's a corker (I shouldn't say that, should I?!). But I really can't wait to get started. A few admin tasks to catch up on and then a week or so planning, research and digging...and then write. Although...I bet I start writing tonight.

Sam x

PS. I seem to have been persuaded to give the whole twitter thing a go. Readers - come find me and see how sensible I am! @samhayes

Monday, 18 January 2010

That Monday Morning Feeling

I actually quite like it. No, I love it. No doom or gloom or wishing it was Saturday morning again here. (I do love the weekends, too, of course, and just spent a lovely one with my dear Dad, who I don't get to see often enough). But a whole week ahead is like a pile of blank paper. Now that makes it sound as if I have nothing to do, far from it, but I still like the potential of five working days and don't want to waste a minute. Apart from in the hairdresser's at the end of the week. (It's been a while.)

The Bookseller daily email had an interesting story this morning. An independent bookshop in Edinburgh - the aptly named Edinburgh Bookshop - is hosting a speed dating evening in the run-up to Valentine's Day. Apparently, again according to the magazine, the indies didn't fair too badly over the Christmas period. Heartening news yet I wonder how bookshop owners would comment on that individually. Each time I walk past our local indie bookstore I hold my breath in case there's a To Let sign up. But the speed dating event promises to match up like-minded literary types over a glass of wine and a few books. Miss Daisy Frost, sharp-tongued blogger and columnist, asks if there will be 'three kisses for the price of two' at the event. I can't help wondering what the discounts would have to be for that to happen.

While straying around a few blogs at the weekend, I came across another heartening story on Neil Ayres and Aliya Whiteley's blog. How cool is this? Still don't understand Twitter, even though I'm sure I should. (Sorry, Neil. I read what you sent me and, through no fault of yours, I don't get how to do it!)

So on with my book. It's finished (Yay!) apart from the many pages of notes-to-self and insightful agent comments that I need to incorporate. I've already done loads of obessive editing, so feeling pretty good in that respect. Hear that big clock ticking? Deadline countdown.

Finally, been getting some lovely mail from readers far and wide about Tell Tale! (Paperback out in March.) Many many thanks to all of you. I will reply.

Sam xx