Heronfield has just undergone a professional proof-read and re-edit. There have been no changes to the storyline, but some sections have been tightened up and a few minor grammatical errors corrected. My thanks to Maxine Linnell for an amazing piece of work. Living on different continents has not prevented us working well together; Maxine has a great understanding of my style and what I wanted – and has helped me to provide you with a great read.
If you have already purchased a Kindle version then you can download the new versions for free.
Print copies can be purchased from Lulu for just £12.99.
If you have a Kindle then take a look a Amazon where you can get a copy for just £2.99.
If you have any other type of ebook then buy your copy of Heronfield from Smashwords for £2.99.
Heronfield is a saga set in Europe during WWII following the interwoven lives of those who meet through Heronfield, a convalescent hospital. Life in the skies during the Battle of Britain, with the French Resistance, on the Home Front, in the push from D Day to final victory in Europe. Loyalty and love, anger and hatred, loss and betrayal – the characters of Heronfield bring the history of WWII to life.
At almost 295,000 words Heronfield is great value for money.
Thank you everyone who voted for the cover – Lorna Gray (the artist) and I really do appreciate your support!
There is no voting in the final round. Authorsdb says ‘The final round will be solely judged by our live judges on technical design elements, relation to subject matter and content, composition and preferance, using a proven point system.’So this is where the cover has to ‘stand alone’ on it’s merits – and with such a good design from Lorna I’m sure we’re in with a chance!
I have received some great news which supports all of the very positive comments I have received about the design of the cover for Heronfield – it has reached the semi-finals in the war/military section of AUTHORSdB Book Cover Competition for 2013. Please do take a look and cast your vote! (Voting from 23rd November to 15th December).
Many thanks to my friend, Lorna Gray, for the design. She is a very accomplished artist and you can see more of her work here. Lorna will also be designing the cover for my soon to be released novel, The Guardians, and my work in progress, Rebekah.
Take a look at the covers in the other categories too, some of them are real works of art.
Having read a number of books set in the war, I started to read this book with a certain amount of trepidation – too often authors are not able to convey the real sense of what it must have been like to be in that situation. “Heronfield” was a most ‘pleasant’ surprise (I use the word ‘pleasant’ in quotation marks as I have to admit that some of the descriptions were unpleasantly graphic – but even this added to the feeling of reality and authenticity) in that it was obvious that the author had not only spent a great deal of time researching her subject, but had complete immersed herself in it. From the descriptions of pre-war life in the big house, to the description of life in an interment camp, the whole novel had a feeling of authenticity and was able to indicate to me what it must have been like to have been alive during that whole dreadful period – not just a serving member of the forces, but also the civilians living (or existing) back at home and how they coped. Ms Balchin is a relatively new author, however, her style of writing reminds me very much of the style of Nevil Shute – an author I have gone back to time after time. I suspect that Ms Balchin will have a similar effect.
Many authors are questioning that validity of Amazon reviews at present. I can sympathise.
Some people who have read Heronfield, but not purchased it from Amazon, have tried to review the book but the reviews do not get posted. You can imagine my surprise then, on 2nd November 2013, to find a book to be published on 7th November 2013 already reviewed and ranked!
So what star rating does this unpublished book have?
10 reviews with an average of 4.1* On the kindle page Amazon states ‘This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item’. In fact it has not yet been released in any formatand the reviews are from Amazon Vine. What is that you ask? Amazon says ‘Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions’.
Bearing in mind that the book has not yet been published Amazon shows a ranking (based presumably on pre-publication orders) of:
#558 Paid in Kindle Store
#4 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Fiction Classics
#10 in Books > Fiction > Classics
#12 in Books > Fiction > Romance > Historical
As an author, I know that I would like to get my books reviewed by as many people as possible, so I can hardly criticise someone else for feeling the same. However, Amazon Vine does not appear to be available to self-published authors (please do feel free to contact me and correct me if I’m wrong). All I would argue for is a level playing-field for all authors.
What is your opinion?
Do you think this system is fair?
Can an unpublished book actually be regarded as a ‘classic’?
I would be interested to hear your views.
Finally though, as a new author, I recognise that no matter what system Amazon uses reviews are incredibly important for building the reputation of an author, and for sales. I would therefore like to thank the people who have been able to post reviews for Heronfield. I value your feedback to help me to become a better writer, and to produce other books that you might like to read as well. All of your kind words and encouragement are much appreciated!
If you want action, adventure, romance, and history all rolled in to one absorbing read give this a go.
4.0 out of 5 stars I’d give this 4.5 stars if I could!
31 Oct 2013
Another book I downloaded to my Kindle while listed as free, and while I very rarely give 5 star reviews this almost managed it! Set during WWII Heronfield is set in a stately home that is commandeered for the war effort. I’d almost class this as an epic saga, we cover the whole of WWII with the characters but without ever feeling like it’s dragging.
I found Tony’s central story line pretty gripping and was really annoyed when the other characters interrupted, then almost couldn’t bear to leave them to get back to Tony!
I love my books to be character driven and this ticks the box, however there is a huge amount of historical fact woven in to the novel, the author explains this in the preface and it’s worked into the fictional story line quite well. Some of the historical info is less necessary to the plot but it does give an idea of the scale of the conflict and is interesting.
There was nothing really wrong with the story but I’m not a huge fan of massive literary coincidences and two of the male characters run into each other towards the end rather conveniently. I’ll say no more as I don’t want to give anything away but the world is a big place so it lost half a star for that.
This is a self published novel so don’t expect perfection, having said that though it has been written to a very high standard and I would highly recommend even the paid version as you get a lot of book for your buck. I believe that the author’s website states the book is being given a professional edit and I think it will benefit a little from the final polish.
If you want action, adventure, romance, and history all rolled in to one absorbing read give this a go.
Thank you Sarah for your great review on Amazon. I understand what you say about ‘literary coincidences’, they can sometimes spoil a good story. I did a great deal of detailed research for the book and would just like to put your mind at rest – The SS did send people who did that type of work to ‘that place’ towards the end of the war; the other character was with a unit that was in the area on that day. So while it was a big coincidence, it was not impossible that they would meet there!
For anyone who has not read Heronfield and wonders what that is all about – maybe you’re missing out on something!
Thank you for your kind words P J Sowler. Your comments have been noted and Heronfield is back with a very experienced proofreader/copy editor. Fingers crossed that the changes will be available in print for Christmas! Please do update your Kindle version in the new year.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! October 25, 2013
By P J Sowler
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
What a fantastic read. Just the sort of story I like. Set in WW2 it not only gives plenty of facts but a great story too with the right balance between the two. My only criticism is that it could have been edited better but certainly didn’t spoil it for me. More please.
Today is the first day of my free give-away of Heronfield for Kindle!
Please do grab yourself a copy – I hope you enjoy it.
If you would like to write a review and let everyone know what you thought of the book it would be much appreciated.
If you follow me on Twitter (@DorindaBalchin) you will have seen my recent re-tweet linking to Paul Dorset’s article “Letting the book ‘cook’”
Paul advocates finishing a book and then putting it aside for at least a month whilst doing something else. As Paul says:
So why do you want to let the book cook? There are a couple of very good reasons. Firstly, it’s easier to see the story better from an editing point of view when you approach it fresh. A break of at least a month will give you that perspective. By the time you come to read it again you won’t remember everything and it’ll be like reading it for the first time. You’ll quickly spot those places where the pace isn’t quite right or the characters are inconsistent, or something needs to be changed around. Trust me. And that brings us onto the second reason. When you read the book a second time it will probably actually feel pretty good. What I mean is that time helps the book get better! Well of course it doesn’t but it does feel that way. You wrote the book in the heat of the moment and just put pen to paper. Your emotions were raw. If you go back and tweak it immediately you’ll probably change small pieces here and small pieces there, and you may even ruin the effect you were trying to achieve. Coming back to the book after a break will allow you to read it as it was intended to be read, with full-on effects. Sure, you’ll find some spelling and grammatical mistakes, but you’ll probably be surprised at how close the rest of it was to what you were trying to do. Trust your instincts! If you know how to write, you probably wrote a pretty good first draft.
I have always been a believer in letting my work ‘simmer’ a while on the back-burner and coming to it again with a fresh eye. My new book. ‘The Guardians’, has just finished ‘cooking’ and now I’m moving into the next stage – the final edit.
After that there is the cover and formatting, but I hope it won’t be long now before the finished article is available for you to read!