Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for invititng me to participate in the blog tour for this sweet collection.
And Then She Shines: A Collection of Novelettes
Five women, five different issues, five ‘feel-good’ reads.
And Then She Shines brings together brings together four previously published novelettes, along with Helen Libby’s new story, Cassie’s Choice.
Can you keep a secret? All the clothes Ruby’s bought may have filled her wardrobe, but they haven’t helped her to feel fulfilled. She’s been holding back on her dream of travelling for years. And now Ruby’s in debt. A LOT of debt. She’s so ashamed. She doesn’t want anyone to know, not even her boyfriend, David. He’s so careful with money – he wouldn’t understand. Ruby’s trying to change. She wants financial stability AND a good relationship. Will she be able to resolve her debt before David discovers her secret?
Stay or go? Anna’s a romantic. She loves musical theatre, but her life is a far cry from her favourite shows. When her boyfriend Joe tells her he doesn’t love her anymore, she doesn’t know what to do. Anna just wants to be loved, but Joe suffers from depression, and they’ve both been unhappy for a long time. A last minute trip to Paris gives Anna some time to reflect, and shows her whether life can ever really be like a musical.
“People who love me leave me.” Laura makes a New Year’s resolution – to find her birth mother. She needs answers. What she doesn’t need is a relationship, so when things start getting serious between her and Rob, she does her best to hold back. Only Rob won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and Laura is torn. Will Laura find her birth mother? And will love find a way?
He knows everything about her. The only thing she knows about him is that he’s her husband. Can she fall in love with him for a second time? Ella’s lost her memory – the last ten years of her life. Her friends and family want her to slot back into place, only it’s not that easy. Will Ella’s memory return? Does she need to remember her husband in order to love him again? Join Ella on her journey of self-discovery.
“Something is missing from my life, and I can’t pinpoint what it is. Could it be a baby? Maybe.”
What if you think you want a child, but your partner doesn’t? It’s time for Cassie to make her mind up. Does she want a baby, or not? If she does, is she willing to leave her beloved husband, Alex, in order to start again? Can you miss something you’ve never had? Does Cassie need a baby in order to feel fulfilled? So many questions, and she’s running out of time.
Today I am very excited to present a guest post from Helen Libby in which she is going to tell us more about what inspired her to write the book, the writing process and her plans for future:
The Novelette Project
I self-published for the first time in November 2015. It was a novelette called Out of My Debt. I followed it up with a further four novelettes between December 2015 and December 2016, and in April 2017 I put them all together in one collection (Snapshots). I added a fifth story called The ‘B’ Word, and that was that for a while as during the summer of 2017 I relocated from Buckinghamshire to Shropshire.
Once the dust had settled after the move, I concentrated on writing and self-publishing a non-fiction book about my dog. That book gave me a boost of confidence, which inspired to go back and take another look at my novelettes.
Why go back? Lack of sales, plus, if I’m being completely honest, I knew I could do better. When I first published the novelettes, I believed they were the best they could be. A few years on I could see how a few changes would greatly enhance the stories. I decided to change, at the very minimum, the titles and the covers, and to update the book blurbs. That’s one of the big plus points of being self-published, the fact you can make changes to your book listing whenever you want to.
I began with Out of My Debt, which became Ruby’s Secret. The original cover had a photograph of a loch, the same loch Ruby visits in the story. I thought (hoped) it would look more attractive with a woman in the scene. After a lot of searching I found a picture on Pixabay which I thought suited the story. I tweaked the book blurb and made a few small changes to the manuscript itself, though nothing major. The story remained essentially the same. It was re-published in the autumn of 2018.
The next novelette I self-published was a brand new one. I wrote Finding Ella between 2017 and 2018, ensuring the cover depicted the figure of a woman.
During 2019 I worked my way through the remaining novelettes. Paris Actually became Love, Anna. This one was re-worked. In the original story Anna leaves her partner behind because he’s not romantic enough. A beta reader suggested that this wasn’t a strong enough reason, so I decided to make Anna’s partner depressed. She didn’t leave him because of that though. She left because he told her he didn’t love her …
Love You and Leave You became Laura’s Embrace, whilst The ‘B’ Word became Cassie’s Choice. The ‘B’ Word had only ever been published as part of a collection, so I did the same thing with the updated version. Cassie’s Choice is the only novelette not available as a standalone title.
In the autumn of 2019, I was ready to replace the old collection Snapshots with a revamped collection – And Then She Shines. I made it available in both e-book and paperback format, and although this wasn’t my first paperback, it was the one I was most proud of, partly because of all the time I’d spent updating it, and partly because it was thick enough to have the book title and my name on the spine. Yay!
To put this into context my first paperback was the non-fiction book about my dog. It’s a short book, so it’s very thin and therefore has no title or author name on the spine.
Whilst publishing And Then She Shines was a milestone, it didn’t mark the end of the project to revamp my old novelettes. There are still two left to work on, which I decided to combine. I’ve been working on this project for the best part of a year. I had hoped to self-publish it this year but setting up my new business has taken precedence. Because the manuscript is a lot longer than the novelettes, currently 40,000 words, I plan to submit it to some traditional publishers, to see what they think. If I can’t find a home for it, I will definitely self-publish it in 2021.
About Helen Libby
Originally from North Wales, Helen currently lives in Shropshire with her husband and their dog. Helen worked for many years in the public sector and has an administrative background. She writes both fiction and non-fiction. As well as being an indie author, Helen is a self-publishing consultant, offering editorial, self-publishing, and writing services.
To find out more, please go to: http://www.helen-edwards.co.uk
Thank you for stopping by and reading Helen’s guest post. Wishing her book lots of success and a Happy Wednesday to all of us!