Monday, December 17, 2012

Song at Dawn by Jean Gill Christmas Promotion

Song at Dawn’ is on Christmas promotion
, available free in any ebook format until 24th December with the coupon FF49C at  

'Song at Dawn’ won the Global Ebooks Award 2012 for Best Historical Fiction (medieval). It is available in print from Amazon,  lulu and bookshops. It is is a historical thriller/love story set in Narbonne just after the Second Crusade.

1150 in Provence, where love and marriage are as divided as Christian and Muslim. On the run from abuse, Estela's musical talent finds a patron in Alienor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the finest troubadour of the age, Alienor's Commander of the Guard. Weary of war, Dragonetz los Pros uses Jewish money and Moorish expertise to build that most modern of inventions, a paper mill, drawing the wrath of the Church down on his head. Their enemies gather, ready to light the political and religious powder-keg of medieval Narbonne.

Jean Gill

Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a big white dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. For many years, she taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. She is mother or stepmother to five children.

‘Fabulous read’ – Kristin Gleeson, author of ‘Selkie Dreams’

‘Jean Gill weaves a rich tapestry in this evocative, historical novel set in 12th Century France.’ – Moonyeen Blakey, author of ‘The Assassin’s Wife’

‘An intelligent and entertaining historical novel which vividly brings to life the medieval era’ – Karen Charlton, author of ‘Catching the Eagle’

‘A believable, page-turning plot and memorable characters’ – S.P. Review

For more information on Jean Gill, please check out her website and for news, views and tips on writing, check out herblog at

Guest Post

How to be a not-perfect writing-working-mother

I am lucky. The children are grown up, I no longer have to go out to work, and I can write or take photos whenever I want. But it wasn’t always like this…

Twelve books ago, I was forty, with a nine year old son, an adopted eighteen year-old daughter, two dogs, seven cats and occasional kittens. They all lived with my husband and me. I also had three stepdaughters, a bit older than my adopted daughter, who came over from time to time. As if that wasn’t enough, my husband and I had demanding full-time jobs too.  

In fact, I’d just been appointed Headteacher (Principal) of a school for 11-16 year-olds, to see the school through its last two years to closure. Parents don’t like to send their children to a closing school. This meant that we had a high number of disadvantaged youngsters in our school and teachers didn’t stay long. It was a tough job.

So that was the year I decided I’d write a novel. Perhaps it takes a demanding distraction to balance a stressful job. Or I was nuts. In the car, on the way back from a family camping holiday, I’d scribbled the outline idea on the back of an envelope. I’d already written poetry for a few years, and had two poetry books published, but poetry fits quite nicely into small amounts of time. This is what you want to know, isn’t it; where did I find the time?

Answer; weekends and school holidays. I’m a morning writer (afternoon at a pinch, never evening or night) so I wrote for three hours on either a Saturday or Sunday morning, while the family got on with their lives and ignored me. Of course, life interrupted occasionally, but there is something comfortable about a routine. Everyone gets used to it. Everyone knows you’re writing. They get better at not interrupting you, although I never told anyone not to. They probably just figured it out from the blank other-worldly look as I didn’t really listen to them.

During school holidays, I took more three-hour mornings. I even took my laptop on holiday abroad, to a rented cottage in the French Vosges mountains and sneaked some writing sessions while the rest of the family went out walking. I found that one session of about three hours gave me time to get into my work, whereas sessions of an hour were just a waste of time, so it was better to make sure I could settle down once a week rather than achieve nothing five times.

There’s a lot of talk in women’s magazines about ‘me-time’ and when I listen to people who ‘can’t find the time to write’, I notice all the things they do find time for, that didn’t matter as much to me as writing that novel. I rarely saw my friends outside work and I didn’t have endless phone calls; I didn’t spend hours at the hairdresser/gym (a half-hour dry trim once every three months did for the hair, and walking dogs was plenty of exercise); I didn’t have a social life outside my family and pets; I made contact with my son’s school only when we (he and I) thought it was important; we were very well organised for shopping and did minimal housework (and I mean minimal). 

Fast forward to the last five minutes of your life; you’re going to be thinking, ‘I just wish I’d vacuumed the sitting-room more often’. Right?  I don’t think so! Think about what matters to you and do it, trying your best to fit it into your relationships and responsibilities. If your people don’t understand, and you can’t help them to see what is important to you, maybe you need to re-think who you’re with (or how you bring them up!)

My first novel got written. A couple of years later ‘Snake on Saturdays’ found a publisher. I felt good about myself and what I’d achieved. I never played the ‘Great Writer’ (you know the type; ‘my novel is a work of genius that must reach the world, and you must support me financially, emotionally and by making my dinner’). I did let my family know that writing mattered to me, whether I ever found a publisher or not.

Yes, I had a very supportive husband. Yes, I was selfish. But I just don’t buy into the idea of the ‘perfect mother who sacrifices herself’. I think my kids preferred having a mother who was happy and fulfilled, if sometimes absent or absent-minded, rather than one who was miserable and martyred, but always there.  You’d have to ask them, of course, but I think all that sacrifice results in blood at some stage, usually starting with, ‘How can you do this after all I’ve done for you?!’ I don’t do sacrifice and I don’t do emotional blackmail.

Finding time to write – Jean Gill’s tips
What worked for me:-
1.     Routine avoids arguments and self-justification. Make a writing session of about 3 hours into a weekly routine – more often if you can.
2.     It takes the time it takes. One step at a time climbs the mountain. Who says you have to write a novel in twelve weeks? I still take a year.
3.     Share what you do with those you live with but don’t bore them with the creative detail. Now, I have online writer-friends for that.
4.     Always stop writing when you know what’s coming next so you can get straight into it when you sit down again.

Details of the Christmas Giveaway

Free Christmas book
Global Awards winner, historical novel ‘Song at Dawn’
ebook giveaway until 24th December

Use coupon FF49C when you check out at

and random draw for 1 signed print copy

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