Author Archives: Victoria

Happy Birthday to Me – A Free Gift for You

It’s My Birthday Month – Happy Birthday to Me!

To celebrate my birthday I thought it would be fun to do two things. One, is to offer you a Birthday Gift and two, is to take a trip down memory lane and look at the things I did over the last 12 months.

A Birthday Gift for You – 2 Free Books!

To celebrate my birthday, I have placed two of my short stories on a FREE PROMOTION. Please take this opportunity to download your free copies and enjoy. The links can be found at the end of this post.

What a Difference a Birthday Year Makes – What I Got Up To

I checked through my diary and found that my activities could be summed up under the following categories:

  • Writing
  • Theatre Trips
  • Films
  • Books
  • Travel
  • Special Events

Writing

Wow – As a blogger, I didn’t write as many blog posts as I would have liked but as a fiction writer I did really well. I published 8 short stories and compiled two bundles of my work. I am over the moon with the progress.

I still have plenty more stories to write and publish. I currently have three stories in draft mode and I should get at least one of those published by the end of this month. Yippee!

Here is a list of the books I published since my last birthday:

  • Felicity Falls in Love – Free to Download
  • Gabrielle Falls in Love
  • Helena Falls in Love
  • Isabelle Falls in Love
  • Josephine Falls in Love
  • The Love Series – Volume One
  • Kimberly Falls in Love – Free to Download
  • The Love Series – Volume One & Two – 10 Book Series
  • Louisa Falls in Love
  • Melinda Falls in Love

Theatre Trips

I saw 12 theatre productions. Some were musicals, which are my favourite, and the others were plays. The highlights were:

  • Dreamgirls
  • Harry Potter & The Cursed Child
  • Billie Holiday at Emerson’s Grill & Bar
  • Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour
  • Peter Pan Goes Wrong
  • The Girls

Films

I only went to the cinema 4 times over the last 12 months. There wasn’t really that much that I was interested in seeing on the big screen. The films I watched were:

  • Fantastical Beasts
  • La La Land
  • Hidden Figures
  • Girl’s Trip

Books

The books I read can be easily divided into two camps – romance and self-help books.

  • For Now and Forever
  • Her Sweetest Christmas
  • Once Upon a Set-Up
  • Beautiful & Other Stories
  • A Spoonful of Spice
  • One Last Summer
  • Statistically Improbable
  • Paper Hearts & Summer Kisses

Non Fiction

Travel

I got to fulfil the biggest wish on my bucket-list. I travelled to Cuba! It was amazing. It was a dancing holiday so I got to salsa dance all day and all night and there was also a bit of sight-seeing thrown in.

It was a truly amazing holiday that I had been wanting to take for years.

Other places I travelled to were Spain – Cordoba, Granada and Malaga.

I also went to France and Holland.

Special Events

I visited Harry Potter World. This was a birthday gift to my sister as she is a huge Harry Potter fan.

Other special highlights of the past year include my first ever visit to The Olivier Awards Ceremony where I got to walk the red carpet.

I also had a bit of a splurge and treated myself to a brand new MacBook Pro laptop. I love it. It was time to ditch the little netbook so I upgraded and I am so happy I did.

I enjoyed a fantastic reunion with Uni friends. We have now known each other for over twenty years! One friend lives in Rome, another in Beirut and another in Oxford.  It was wonderful to get together in London with my old housemates and talk and laugh about the good old student days 🙂

Any Lessons Learned?

I learned that it is so important to live life to the full and to do things that really make you happy. You have to be brave, make the time for yourself, have fun and create beautiful memories so you can look back and be happy with how you have spent the precious time that we have.

I want to write and publish more stories. I want to see more countries, I want to see my friends more often and I want to create new memories.

My Birthday Gift to You – 2 Free Books!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I would like to celebrate my birthday by giving you the opportunity to check out two of my short stories.

These two books are FREE TO DOWNLOAD from Amazon. Just click on the links below and enjoy 🙂

Click Here to Download Courtney Falls in Love

Click Here to Download Isabelle Falls in Love

These two stories are Free to Download from Wednesday 19th – Sunday 24 September 2017

If you enjoy theses stories, I hope that you will pop back to Amazon and leave a lovely little review. Many thanks and Happy Reading 🙂

Have You Say: Do you think you have achieved a lot since your last birthday? What has been the highlight for you? I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Me, My Books and I – Introducing The Fiction Writer & Blogger

Victoria Virgo aka Audra Bell - Fiction Writer and Blogger

Me, My Books and I

I thought I would write a post about who I am and where I am in life at the moment. This is for those who are interested in finding out a little bit more about the person behind this website and behind the romance fiction writer known as Audra Bell. Enjoy 🙂

Who Am I?

My name is Victoria Virgo and I am a romance fiction writer. It is my dream to make a full time living from my writing. I want to be able to be self sufficient, location independent and to make money from doing the things that I love.

I have started the journey of making this dream a reality and I am excited about the possibilities.

How I Ended Up Writing Fiction

Writing has always been something that I have done. Over the years I have written song lyrics, poetry, short stories with no endings and I have started various diaries that I abandoned.

After I did the sensible thing of getting a business degree, I worked for a couple of years then thought about my passions. At the time it was acting and singing, so I did a few part-time courses and ended up completing a one-year musical theatre course. I absolutely loved the time. My days were filled with dance classes in the mornings, acting lessons in the afternoons and learning new songs in between.

After the course, I got a variety of acting jobs, mostly theatre stuff. I did Christmas pantos, I toured with a children’s show, I got to lead workshops, which were challenging and fun. I got to play the role of Cinderella. I did a really great, moving play for Black History Month, And I sung some great songs.

The problem with acting is that you never know when you are going to get your next job. You spend the majority of your year doing other work to make money to pay your rent. This was ok for a few years but when I realised that I wanted to be able to plan for holidays, plan to get a mortgage and to basically live life to the full, I knew it was time to make a choice. I bid farewell to the acting and hello to full-time employment and security.

Fast forward a few years and after dabbling with various online endeavours, I found a way to channel my creative energy. I started writing again. Amazon’s self-publishing programme makes it really easy for anyone to publish their own work so once I figured out how to do that, I published a few short stories and non-fiction books.

When I decided that I wanted to make fiction writing not just a passion, but a way to make a full-time income, I started to focus and made a plan, sort of.

My Fiction Writing Author Name

I write my fiction under the lovely author name Audra Bell. I decided on a pen name for several reasons. I wanted to keep the books that I had already published under my own name but they are not in line with the contemporary fiction I am currently writing so choosing a new name was a good solution.

I also wanted to create a brand that was consistent so all the books would have similar covers and styles.

I chose the name Audra Bell because Audra begins with the first letter of the alphabet. It is also the name of the wonderful actress and musical theatre performer Audra McDonald. The surname Bell just seemed to fit nicely.

My Author Website

I created an author website where I could write about the books that I have published. The website is called audrabellwrites.com. When I remember to, I also include upcoming promotions.

Having the website is a great way for new people to discover my fiction writing and there is also a link where people can subscribe to receive my newsletter were I talk about what I am up to and and any discounts that are coming up.

Click Here to Visit Audra Bell Writes

My Books & Short Stories

I knew that I needed a strategy in order to get started. I decided to write short stories with titles that started with the first letter of the alphabet. That meant I knew that this series of books would consist of 26 separate stories.

I also decided on writing short stories because they are easier to complete. I expect to extend my stories so that they are full-size novel lengths but as a beginner, I wanted to ensure that my projects would get completed.

Writing short stories means I know the end is in sight and there is less opportunity for procrastination. Oh, but I still find ways to procrastinate, of course. However, knowing I have 10,000 words to write as opposed to 40,000-80,0000 words helps me a lot.

Click Here to See Books Currently Available

I Have Free Books for People to Read

One way to get people to sample your writing is to offer something for free. I knew that I would be doing this so I wrote shorter sample stories and published them.

These are available to download from Amazon and various other online stores. The free stories currently available are:

There will be at least two other free books in this series. The names will begin with P and U. Look out for those.

I also offer a micro-short story at the end of these free books, in order to get people to join my mailing list.

If people enjoy the free offerings, I hope that they will be happy to pay for the other books in the series.

I Created Box Sets to Offer Value for Money

Each short story costs $0.99 / £0.99 to download (or they are FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited) and I have bundled them into 5-book volumes and a 10-book set where I have been able to offer these stories at a discount rate.

Some people prefer to buy the individual books and others see the value in the bundled offerings and go for that. There is something suitable for different readers and I am happy to be able to provide different options.

Click Here To See Books Currently Available

I Write a Weekly Newsletter to Stay Connected with My Audience

If you join my mailing list, you will receive an email from me once a week, sometimes more if I am running a special promotion. It is a great way to keep in touch with people. There are three main things that I share in my newsletter.

I like to share a little something about what is going on in my life and if I have a picture then I will include that.

I like to share details about any free book promotions that I am involved in. It is a great way to let my subscribers know about other free offerings from other authors. Sometimes these are within the romance genre, other times, it is promotion featuring books from a variety of reading categories.

I also share my own book writing schedule or book discounts that are coming up. It is great to be in the position to offer discounts, especially when there are people who love books but are living within a budget.

I use Mailerlite to set up my mailing list. It is really easy to use and it’s free if you have less than 1,000 subscribers.

I am Building Up My Subscriber List to Grow My Audience

I am very grateful to the people who have chosen to sign up to receive my weekly emails. It is nice to know that people are interested in hearing from me.

I am building my subscriber list by doing the following things:

  • I add a Subscribe Link at the back of each of my books
  • I have a Subscribe Link on my Author Website
  • I add subscribers using Instafreebie

These are working well at the moment. The most important thing is to keep up with my fiction writing so that I have something of value to offer readers who like my style.

So This is Where I am At

So this is my fiction writing journey so far. It will be very interesting to see how far I will have progressed a year from now. Will I be able to make my dreams come true? Will I succeed in creating a full-time income from my writing so that I can be self sufficient and location independent? We shall see.

Wish me luck 🙂

Have Your Say: Do you dream of becoming self-sufficient and creating your own income on your own terms? I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Greetings from Spain!

Greetings From Spain!

Well Hello There Readers! Last week I had popped over to Holland to visit a friend. Well this week I am in Spain. I popped over to hit the beautiful beaches and to celebrate the boyfriend’s birthday. Happy Birthday Steven!

Response to Last Week’s Grey Hair Email

I want to send a shout-out to Stephani! Thank you for your fantastic and funny email response to my vanity led grey hair dyeing drama. I just had to quote you:

“When my hair isn’t colored, I look ill. Like, really seriously physically ill – So younger me, the idealist, was told by older me, the pragmatist, to sit down and shut up. And I color my hair. hahaha.”

I feel your pain my sister. Hehehe. Thank for for taking the time to write. I love receiving emails people so please feel free to hit the reply button anytime.

OK – Back to Books, Books, Books!

99 Cents Book Sale – ENDS SATURDAY 15 JULY 2017Everything Romance - 99 Cents Book Promo

CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFER

This is your last chance to grab some 99 Cents Romance bargains from Amazon.

Some books, like mine, are 99 cents anyway but there are several that have been reduced from $4.99 or $2.99.

With over 50 books included in this promotion, there is sure to be something to take your fancy.

The books I have included in this offering are:

  • Bernadette Falls in Love
  • Courtney Falls in Love
  • Gabrielle Falls in Love

Click on the link below and check out the other 50+ books that are available. They are all romance with differing heat levels.

CLICK HERE FOR EVERYTHING ROMANCE – 99 CENTS BOOK SALE

My Next Story is Finished!

LouisaFallsinLoveI am so pleased to announce that the next short story in my series is complete. It is called Louisa Falls in Love. making this story number 12 in the series.

What do you think of the cover? Cute right? I hope you like it.

At the moment, my sister is proof-reading the draft and if there are no major rewrite issues, I hope to get it published by the end of next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Free Book Promo – 60+ Books – ENDS SUNDAY 16 JULY 2017

Romance-Giveaway-TwitterMy free short story Addison Falls in Love has been included in this free book promotion. There are over 60 other books included, all romance but with differing heat levels.

This could be a great opportunity to discover new authors.

Click Here For 60+ Free Summer Romance Reads

Ok, that’s all from me. Time to enjoy some of the Spanish sun. I hope that you have a fantastic day wherever in the world you are and I wish for you an amazing weekend ahead.

Happy Reading!

Warmest regards from Spain 🙂

Be Inspired To Wake Up Early – Why I Try to Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier Each Morning

3 Reasons I Wake Up 30 Mins Earlier in the Morning

There are lots of books that describe the benefits of waking up early in the morning. One book that I read and really enjoyed was The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. The book looks at 6 habits that can transform your life. One habit that I have been working on is to wake up a little earlier each morning. I feel that this has been beneficial in several ways.

Be Inspired To Wake Up Early

Here are three simple benefits I get from setting my alarm to go off a little earlier each morning.

#1 – Waking Up Earlier Enables a Relaxed Start To The Day

I have been waking up 30 minutes earlier each morning. I do this on work days and it helps me feel nice and relaxed before I have to get on with the task of getting ready for work. I don’t set hit the snooze button on my alarm and I place my phone across the room so I have to physically get out of bed to turn off the alarm. As I am now out of bed, it makes it easier to head to the kitchen, and put the kettle on.

#2 – I Get To Hydrate With a Healthy Drink

I put a slice of lemon in a cup of hot water and I head back to my room. I open the curtains wide so that I can see daylight. I read somewhere that a cup of lemon water is good for the immune system. The body needs to rehydrate after several hours of sleep, so I sip on my drink and enjoy the peace and quiet of the morning.

#3 – I Take Time to Read Something Inspirational

The Miracle Morning by Hal ElrodI try to read at least one chapter every morning. I tend to read non-fiction books in the morning. Not sure why, it just seems to have worked out that way. One of the benefits of reading non-fiction in the morning is that it is a great way to get the brain working and thinking about positive things. This is what I gain from reading a lot of self help and personal development type books.

I find them very inspiring and motivational. When I read something that resonates with me, I will underline it so that I remember it.

My half hour is up. I have finished my hot water and lemon and it is now time to get ready for work.

Tweaks I Want to Make in My Routine

I want to expand on my morning routine and get up a little earlier so that I can incorporate a little bit of exercise or at least some stretching. I am interested in learning about Yoga so learning a few easy moves could make some positive differences to my morning. I know that this would improve my day even more.

Check Out The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod – This is a great read if you are looking for ways to improve your daily routine.

Have Your Say: Do you have a morning routine that helps you get your day off to a great start?  I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo Credit – Joestpierrephoto.com via photopin (license)