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Saturday, 29 September 2012

HUG A BOOK with Joanna Lambert & When Tomorrow Comes

It's HUG A BOOK with Joanna Lambert and you could win a Kindle version or a paperback version of When Tomorrow Comes

WHEN TOMORROW COMES is the first book of the Behind Blue Eyes Trilogy and the beginning of Matt and Ella’s journey. 
This  isn't just a saga and it isn't just a love story.  It's about family conflict, friendships forged to last a lifetime and hurt too deep to ever heal over. There is deviousness and manipulation, lies and deception.   Will Ella and Matt’s love be strong enough to survive?
 I’m offering one lucky reader the opportunity to start an unforgettable journey.
Matt’s warm eyes were fixed on her again. ‘Here,’ he placed the wheel brace and jack gently in her hands.’ So is it all sorted now, you and your boyfriend?’
‘No,’ she said as she tucked them back into the boot floor and looked at him again. ‘Actually, it’s over.’
‘I’m sorry.’
‘I’m not.’ Staring into his eyes, she realised she really meant it.
‘Plenty more fish in the sea, eh?’ The smile was there again, making her insides feel like melted butter.
‘Something like that.’ She answered breathlessly.
‘Well,’ he hesitated, looking at his watch as if he had to be somewhere. ‘Must go -  nice to have met you Ella. Oh, and don’t forget.’ He pointed at the boot. ‘Get that to a garage as soon as possible – it’s illegal not to have a roadworthy spare.’
The wind had dropped slightly and as he spoke his breath hung visibly in the cold evening air.  Shadows played across his face, darkening his eyes, giving them an almost hypnotic quality as he looked at her.  There was something about his closeness that totally overwhelmed her and suddenly she was overtaken by a strange impulse to draw him into her arms and kiss him.

a)      What was Ella’s father’s occupation before he died?
b)      What’s the name of Matt’s band?
c)      What’s the name of the Italian Restaurant in which features in the book?

Please add you answers to the comments box and one lucky winner will start a journey that they will not forget...

Find out more about Joanna by visiting our Author, Books, Trailers & Reviews Pages

Friday, 28 September 2012

A Title, A Title, My Kingdom for a Title

How do you choose a title for your book? And does that title change after you write The End? Oh, and before I forget what is a good title? Asks Chris Longmuir

Well my books go through several titles before they are published. Take Dead Wood, for example – and I know Dead Wood isn’t an indie book but I felt it was a good example to illustrate changing titles. Well, Dead Wood started out with the working title Girls in the Wood, because that described where the bodies were found. Then, when it was finished I started to cast around for a publishing title. I brainstormed and made a list – I’ve forgotten most of the titles on that list – but there were about a dozen of them. I consulted my writers’ group, and some valued friends, and came up with the title The Screaming Woods. I thought it was quite a good title and still do. However when the book won the Dundee Book Prize which ensured publication, there was one condition, apart from keeping my mouth shut of course, because they didn’t want the name of the winner leaking out. What was that condition? Yes, you’ve guessed it – a change of title.

Okay, I agreed to that, although I did like my own title. So what did the publisher come up with? First Blood, shades of Rambo and Sylvester Stallone, I thought but I didn’t argue. Then they went off that title and decided on The Woods. The only problem was that Harlan Coben had just brought out a crime novel with that title. They hadn’t noticed, but I did, and when I told them they had to think again. I must admit I hoped they would go full circle and come back to my own title. No such luck, they came up with Dead Wood, and that was it.

Night Watcher was a different kettle of fish (excuse the cliché) because this was my book and it was my decision what I would publish it under. It started out as Night Watcher changed to Predator somewhere along the line, then changed back to Night Watcher. I guess I just liked the original title.

When I’m thinking about titles I think my favourite method is to brainstorm them, but the titles must reflect the book. There are things around to give you a helping hand though. For example, you can find title generators on the internet. Here’s the link of one I found doing a Google search

So how do you decide your title? Do you keep the same one you use as your working title? I’d love to know.

Find out more about Chris by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer & Reviews Pages

Thursday, 27 September 2012

It's BC for Owen Carey Jones who Goes Back to University!

Author of Rough Cut, Owen Carey Jones talk about his recent invite at Leeds University Book Club

I was recently invited to attend a meeting of the Leeds Metropolitan University Book Club. As a former MA student in screenwriting (Fiction), I was pleased to accept and spent more than an hour in the company of half a dozen avid readers, most of whom were on the university’s staff.

I was impressed from the outset that all the members of the group had read Rough Cut, my debut murder mystery thriller, and, not only that, they had all bought a copy of the book (mostly paperbacks but a couple of ebooks too) which they brought with them to the meeting.

An interesting discussion (for me, and hopefully for them too) followed with the members telling me what they had liked about the book and what they hadn’t liked about it. The happy ending came in for some criticism but they all seemed to like the twists and turns in the plot. A couple also thought that it started a bit too slowly but that the pace then built up well. Lastly, and perhaps this is the most useful of their comments, they thought the novel reflected my background as a writer of screenplays (more of which on another occasion) in that I tended to under-describe things.

They asked me lots of questions about how I came to write the book, where the ideas for the story had come from, why I had set most of the story in Port Grimaud, that sort of thing. The reason I did set it in Port Grimaud is that it is a place I know well from the several occasions when I’ve rented a house there in the summer for family holidays – it is one of my favourite places in all the world.

They were also very interested to hear all the details of my publishing journey over the last 12 months. In fact, one of them suggested I might go back and do a talk to interested members of their staff about the whole self-publishing scene.

All in all, I felt that these book club members were quite honest about what they thought of my book, and they were happy to criticise as well as to make complimentary comments, but they were never cruel in anything they said. For the most part, I took the criticisms, as well as the compliment, as useful feedback for my next book, Cutting Edge, the first draft of which is almost finished.

I was quite tired by the end of the session but I enjoyed it immensely and would happily do more such events should the opportunity arise.

Find out more about Owen by visiting our Author, Books & Reviews Pages

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Chunk Method of Writing!

Susan Russo Anderson explains, The Chunk Method of Writing!

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a lecture on the Chunk Method of writing. It was given by Allie Pleiter, a vivacious, prolific, and talented romance author in the US who works on four novels at a time—writing one, editing another, selling a third, and promoting a fourth. And, yes, she leads a busy life in addition to being an author: she’s a wife and a mom, active in community and church and she has developed her own way of managing creativity and increasing word count. She calls it The Chunk Method of writing.

In a nutshell, The Chunk Method of writing involves the following:

     Identify Your Chunk. Keep track of your daily word count for ten days, writing the way you normally do, until you know it’s time to quit or gibberish will start to flow. Add up the total and divide it by ten. This is your current optimal chunk.

     Make a word plan. Keep track of your daily word count in a spreadsheet. And make a plan for how many words you’ll have written by the end of the year. Project word count by weeks and months. That way you can tell your editor if you are on time with, say, the second of your three-book deal, and when she can expect to see your manuscript on her desk.

     Are you a Big Chunkie? Are you a writer who needs yards of solitude? Are you influenced by your environment? Do you need a cabin in the woods with no interruptions to write your chunk? If so, you are a Big Chunkie.

     Or are you a Little Chunkie? These days, most authors by necessity are Little Chunkies. Can you write anywhere, any time? On the train going to work? In small increments that add up to your daily word count? Can you write for five, ten, or twenty-five minutes and then put a load of wash in, write a couple of e-mails, tweet, feed the family, text, write? Can you tune out distractions?

     To increase the size of your daily chunk, think in increments of 100 words. After you’ve written your daily chunk, encourage yourself to write another 100 words. After all, 100 words is what, only two or three sentences. But 100 words x 365 days = 36,500, a healthy novella. Increase your chunk by 300 words a day and you’ve just written one additional novel a year.

After attending Allie’s lecture, I plunged headlong into the method. Although I stopped short at her recommendation to make To Do lists (been there, done that), I do keep track of my daily and weekly word counts in a spreadsheet. As an example, my current goal is to finish the first draft of my third novel by October 15. At the time of this writing, that gives me 28 days. Currently I’ve written 60,007 words of a 97,000-word first draft. According to my numbers, I’m just going to make it, even if life intervenes on three of those days. (36,993 words left to write ÷1500 words a day = 24.662 days). Mind you, the chunk method is about getting the first draft down, not about getting ideas or plotting, refining, revising, editing, proofreading before the manuscript is sent to professional editors.

Does her method work? So far so good. Before attending her lecture, I was lucky to average 900 words a day, although that’s a guess because I didn’t keep track. Now my goal is 1500 words a day, and for the last eleven days, my daily average has been 1939 words. So if I keep writing my daily chunk (I’ll stick with 1500), I should finish the first draft a few days before my goal of October 15 and will have written the first draft of my next novel by Christmas. Am I a Pollyanna? I’ll let you know.

Find out more about Susan by visiting our Author, Books & Reviews Page

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A Captive Audience

Debbi Ingram shares her special captive audience with you…

I read a fantastic piece of advise recently about knowing when your book is finished and ready to let go, prised from your clinging arms if necessary to go for publishing. The advise was to always read your book FOUR TIMES. The first is the rough draught, the second is revising and correcting the first draught. The third is reading it aloud, to family, friends or the wall if need be. The fourth is reading from start to finish to iron out any glaring errors and presumably make sure it flows and ties up any loose ends. Good advise I'm sure you will all agree. 

The point that really caught my attention was number three, reading aloud to any one or any thing foolish enough to listen. In other words, a captive audience.  I always loved the part in the wonderful play (and film) Shirley Valentine when Shirley, alone and bored, had deep, meaningful conversations with her kitchen wall. At the time it really struck a cord! 

Now I am in a much happier place, but write in the peace and relative quiet of my living room with my two dogs for company. I have found that my sons and husband flee when I ask if I can run something by them, so my dogs are my captive audience.Let me formally introduce you to my greatest critics, Alf and Dodger. Alf is a very large chocolate brown Labrador. His whole life is ruled by greed, and he would indeed sell his soul for a box of Biscuits. Preferably gravy bones, but to be honest, he's not that fussy. If I read aloud as I tap on the computer, he will listen attentively so long as the toast lasts. The minute the last crumb leaves the plate, Alf slips quietly onto the sofa for a nap. He is the strong silent type, but has become very knowledgeable regarding my first two novels. 

Next we have Dodger. Dodger is a small, white dapper little chap, a Parsons Russell terrier who does not believe in keeping his opinions to himself. Always the more vocal of my dynamic duo, he will squeak peevishly at me if he does not get the attention he so frequently demands. He will, throughout the day ask for food, fuss, cuddles or play time once his morning run around the park have been accomplished. He likes to sit at one end of the sofa and listen to me read aloud whilst having his tummy rubbed. I am now out of necessity,  an accomplished multi- tasker. 

So, now you have been introduced to my captive audience. I get far more feed back from them than I do from talking to the wall. I wonder, who or what is your captive audience?

Find our more about Debbie by visiting our Author & Books Pages

Monday, 24 September 2012

Kids CAN Make a Difference

A true story by Janet Beasley, because sometimes it happens!
(The child's name is fictitious, but the story remains a true event.)

Being an author means so much more than just putting words on a page and publishing your books. As an author, I was recently enlightened in a very special way. My novel, Hidden Earth, Volume 1, MAYCLY, Parts 1, 2, and 3, was released in February, 2012. I took pre-release-date orders for the 744-page collector’s edition paperback. Sales went well, and I could not have been happier, or so I thought. I hadn’t really considered what my fans were doing with the autographed copies they received in mid March. Much to my surprise, a rare opportunity to find out presented itself.

It was a normal day in my small town. I headed over to the local diner to have lunch and catch up on the latest news. I grabbed the last remaining seat and joined the already established conversation. A lady who had ordered a pre-release-date copy of MAYCLY was sitting with her friend at one of the other five tables in the restaurant. She waved.

I smiled and said, “How ya doin’?”

She replied with a big grin, “I’m doin’ great, but Johnny’s doin’ better!”

With a polite smile I nodded, all the while wondering who Johnny was. “That’s great!”

There wasn’t much of a pause before she continued. “I gave my copy of MAYCLY to Johnny, my grandson. He loves your book. He’s already halfway through it. He just turned eleven.” She beamed. “AND that was the book he chose to take on vacation with him this week to the nation’s capital. It fit right in his back pack, and he made a point of letting me know he’d be reading it on the plane.”

The only thing I could recall ever hearing about her grandson was that he had read the complete Harry Potter series. Not only that, but he knew everything about every character, place, and animal. As this fact crept its way to the forefront of my memory, my heart skipped a beat. I’m up against Rowling, and this kid’s enjoying my book? The woman continued to tell me that he already knew my characters up to the point he had reached in the story—how old they were, what they wore, how their voices sounded, and so on.

Opting out of a “deer in the headlights” stare, I squealed like a teenager, “That’s amazing!”

Before I could utter another word, the woman said, “Yeah. He came to me and said, ‘Grandma, this book should be on the AR (Accelerated Reading) list.’” She paused and smiled back at what I’m certain was an excited yet puzzled look on my face, then continued. “I’m not sure how you get your books on that list, but I’ll do some research for you.”

“OK.” What else could I say? Finally I closed my gaping mouth and asked, “Do you suppose Johnny would want to write a review for me? I’ll be happy to put it on my website and post it along with the novel where it’s for sale online. I promise only to mention that he’s an 11-year-old from the US.”

She glowed like any proud grandmother would. “I’ll surely ask him.”

In a few days I received an email stating that Johnny would be honored to do the review; he’d never been asked by a real author to do something like that and was thrilled.

This kid has totally stolen my heart, and I’ve never even met him. The numerous hours I spent searching for the right words, constructing sentences, creating a new world, and developing a new language over the last eight years, along with establishing my own style and suffering through sleepless nights as ideas invaded my brain, were well worth the effort.

For several days I forgot about the nerve-wracking moment when I realized that, for this kid at least, I was up against Rowling’s series. I forgot about all the hard work facing me in writing the next five novels in my series and trying to get MAYCLY onto the AR list. All I could think about was...if nothing else happens with this novel series, who cares? It has made a child smile. Speaking from firsthand experience, that’s the greatest success any author could ask for. It is truly an unforgettable moment in my career. 

Find about more about Janet by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer & Review Pages

Saturday, 22 September 2012

HUG A BOOK with Gilli Allan & Torn!

It's HUG A BOOK with Gilli Allan and you could win a Kindle version of Torn

Books are essential in my life, not because I’m a writer but because I’m a reader. I can’t imagine life without ‘something to read’, and preferably fiction.  Maybe it’s because I want to escape, although I have nothing to escape from.  Maybe it’s because I am bored with ‘myself’; the thoughts which whirl about in my head are mundane and limited. Maybe it’s because I’m a creative person, and if I’m not writing my own book, or drawing and painting, I need something else to fill that vacuum.
I find it hard to imagine why anyone doesn’t read.   Books fill your mind’s eye with people and relationships, emotion and drama, landscapes, colour and adventure. I need to be constantly hooked up to my drug of choice.

And what a wonderful time for me to be given this opportunity to Hug A Book!  My own book, TORN, has a new cover and a new format! It is now in paperback as well as e-book.
When I first published TORN I designed my own cover, using my own photograph. Though I’ve always liked the image, I never felt it did the novel justice and wasn’t doing its job of drawing the reader in.    So, when I decided to publish TORN in paperback, with Create Space, I wanted a new, more dramatic cover; a cover which more strongly conveys the main themes of the book - You can never take anything for granted.  Even the sunniest, most inviting prospect can have pitfalls and dangers.  And sometimes the obstacles to what you ‘think’ you want are in yourself.
I found a photograph I wanted to use at the on-line ‘picture warehouse’ Bigstock, and I was ready to begin. I won’t go into the many alarms and diversions I went through. I am definitely not ‘techie’ and my title, TORN, began to seem more illustrative of the hair tearing that was going on, than of the book! But with the help and guidance of internet pals, the technical problems were solved at last and we had ‘lift-off.’
TORN is launched in paperback TODAY.
TORN is re-launched as an e-book, with the same new cover.

I’ve a few questions which, if you answer them correctly, could win you a Kindle version of TORN
Why do you think Danny Bowman was upset to discover Jess Avery had a cat?
What do you think Jessica’s young son, Rory, meant when he said he’d seen ‘wooden enemies’ and ‘violence’ in the woods?
James Warwick is an intelligent, quick-witted and educated man.  He read English at Oxford and later worked for an advertising agency.  With his attributes, what job do you think he would have done?

>questions anyone can make a stab at, even if they haven’t read the book<. 
Answers in the Comments please!

You can escape your past but can you ever escape yourself?
TORN is a contemporary story, which faces up to the complexities, messiness and absurdities in modern relationships.
Life is not a fairy tale; it can be confusing and difficult. Sex is not always awesome; it can be awkward and embarrassing, and it has consequences. You don't always fall for Mr Right, even if he falls for you. And realising you're in love is not always good news. It can make the future look daunting....
Jess has made a series of bad choices. Job, relationships and life-style - all have let her down. By escaping the turmoil of her London life, she is putting her young child first. This time she wants to get it right, to devote herself to being a mother. But the country does not offer the idealised ‘good life ’idyll she pictured. There are stresses and strains here too - the landscape she looks out on is under threat, new friends have hidden agendas, and two very different men pull her in opposing directions. In the face of temptation old habits die hard.
She is torn between the suitable man and the unsuitable boy.

Good luck with the questions!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Luck - Fact or Fiction?

So how do you view life and its turn of events? Is luck fact or fiction? Caroline James explains her theory.

I took a tumble on my stairs recently and as I was falling, I had a split second thought that 'this could be serious' - the stairs are steep.  But a strange thing happened.  Like a giant hand, I felt something lift me and next thing I was sitting at the bottom - safe and sound.  Yes - I hear you, she's barking, she's finally lost the plot! 

I went to a literary festival at the weekend and listened to Edwina Currie entertain the audience with tales from her latest diary episodes.  A former member of parliament, Edwina has charisma about her that gives her great confidence.  She told of her massive book deal when times were tough in government and seemed quite smug, but there was something else too.  She mentioned a four-letter word and it’s a word that I've heard famous folk use quite often.


We all need a little helping of luck sometimes.  What makes your manuscript creep up the slush pile/what gets that upgrade into business class/what makes a car stop a split-second after you were convinced it was going to hit you?  Is it luck?  Rhonda Byrne has sold millions of copies of The Secret and readers unravel her words and become happier human beings, but they have to stick with it - follow the faith, work at the page and understand what they are capable of, to become 'lucky in life'.   The great golfer Gary Player said, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."  But millions work their backsides to the bone and nothing changes.  So what makes someone stand out?  What is it that gives an individual that cutting edge of brilliance that enables them to act/run/write/work/paint/perform better than anyone else? Is it luck? Our amazing athletes enthralled everyone at the Olympics with personal successes that surpassed all expectations.  "Years of hard work and dedication," they told us.  Sound familiar?  I think I'm in the same school as Gary Player and believe that you have to work hard to let Lady Luck into your life.  But I can't help but think that my tumble on the stairs was tinged with a touch of fairy dust and greater forces were at work, however you package it, luck was very much on my side that day…

Find our more about Caroline by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer & Review Pages

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Passion for Writing

Passion for writing never leaves you it stays with you and shadows you no matter where life’s journey takes you as Kathryn Brown knows only to well.

It’s been a while since my brain has been able to focus on anything other than farming business. I’m a farmer you see, and this year seems to have been one of those years where I’ve not known if I’m here or there. But one thing that has stayed with me, albeit discreetly, is my passion to write. It never goes away. Any writer will tell you that. Things happen in your life and you feel a desire to write them down, even if you don’t want anyone else to read about it. Now I’ve decided I do want to write for others again, and have turned my attention to writing a new book that I have called “Nightingale Woods”.
 I’m half way through and still not sure if it’ll ever get to publication, but I hope I can come back to this post and say, “yes, I published it, and people have read it.” For a writer, that’s the ultimate goal. Satisfaction comes when someone has read your work. If they enjoyed it, that’s a bonus. Nightingale Woods is a far cry from my first novel, a paranormal romance called Discovery at Rosehill. My new book is a romantic comedy, perhaps a little chick-lit, but definitely a romance. I’m not going to elaborate on the storyline just yet because I’m still writing it, but my main character, Rachel, tells part one of the story in diary format. She’s a good person with a warm heart, but a little wayward and somewhat naive. She has a mixed personality with a sense of humour that carries her through a difficult time in her life.
Part two of the book focuses on Rachel seventeen years later, still a single woman, perhaps still a little naive, but more level-headed with a bucket load of confidence. There is a hero in this book, not a particularly nice one, but still, Rachel seems to be under his spell. I know the ending and I know I want to finish it. Having written forty-five thousand words in the last week, I think I can safely say I’m enjoying writing this book.
Being a writer is something we never tire of. It’s an endless and dedicated business with deadlines and tinkerings and edits. It’s time-consuming and frustrating, nerve-wracking and nail biting. But what’s so great about being a writer is that it’s incredibly rewarding. And that, in itself, is one of the reasons why my passion for writing will never leave me. I can’t say when Nightingale Woods will be finished, let alone ready for publication, but I hope to be back in the near future to promote a book that I’m growing particularly fond of.
Find out more about Kathryn by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer & Review Pages

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Where do you Write?

Suzy Turner looks for the perfect place to write

When I wrote Raven, I trawled all over the house because we were having our downstairs bathroom completely renovated. It was noisy, messy and totally distracting so I'd find myself laying on the bed, sprawled on a sun lounger on the terrace with a towel over my head to try and stop the glare from the screen! At other times, I could be found curled up on the sofa or sitting at the dining table. 
Needless to say, I ended up getting a really bad back which eventually led me to a masseur (that was quite nice actually!). But I've learned my lesson. December Moon, The Lost Soul and the Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw were all penned whilst sitting at the dining table, which is situated in the centre of our open plan house. Unfortunately I am easily distracted so if hubby is home, I have difficulty getting any work done. 

I dream of having my own cozy little room with views out to lush green hills, forests, mountains, ocean, rivers.... anything beautiful to inspire me, really! I know I'll get it eventually but for now I must make do with own little space.

Find out more about Suzy by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer & Review Pages

Thursday, 13 September 2012

You Had To Be There Because If Not...!

Not a stroll in the park, but a meander to the perfect place where you can feel, touch and breath in the essences that will bring to life all the senses in your new book. Bea Davenport takes us on her latest journey that will give life to her new book, so please come and join us…
In order to kick-start some of my writing projects, I’ve been doing lots of research in the last couple of weeks. I love this part of the writing process. My partner calls it ‘having days out’, but take no notice of him! In fact, they are carefully scheduled visits to places that are important to or helpful to my writing. My children’s novels are set in fictional places, but they’re strongly based on real settings and sometimes just being there can spark off the best kind of writing.
For example, although my children’s novel The Serpent House was inspired by the village where I live, there are no genuine remains of the medieval leper hospital where part of the book is set. So although I took a lot of information from books on the subject, I also took advantage of a holiday to the Uzes area of France a few years ago to make notes about the layout of medieval villages and healing herb gardens in particular. My supervisor at the time said she immediately noticed a new authenticity about the writing, which had suddenly come alive because of the detail I was able to glean from ‘being there’.
  I also mined some old family stories for the section of the book that’s set in the late Victorian era. Three of my great-aunts worked in service in large houses in Newcastle and Cumbria, and my central character is a servant girl in just such a house. Again, there are lots of books on the subject, but poking round the kitchens and drawing rooms of homes from the right time period, such as Cragside in Northumberland, helped me to envisage the place in much more detail.
Now I’m working on the sequel. Called The Witch’s House, it’s inspired by the North Berwick witch trials of the late sixteenth century. Creeping round old kirks and graveyards, feeling the iron railings and the crumbling headstones beneath my fingers, and taking notes of the sights, sounds and smells that my characters might also have experienced, really makes me feel I’m doing more than reproducing facts from history books.
The other project I have on the go is a contemporary novel for young adults. My two teenage central characters are Goths, so I’ve had great fun immersing myself in some of their sub-culture. I’ve been listening to the music and I’ve even found a stunning site that sells Gothic perfumes with the most evocative names like Absinthe, Seance and Coiled Serpent (I had to order one because the list of scents was so appealing – and we all know how useful scents are for inspiring writing!). I’m really not sure what the pink-haired assistant in the ‘alternative’ shop in Newcastle thought of this strange older woman examining their tartan mini-skirts and leather corsets, but she very tactfully didn’t ask what I was doing. I need to couple all this with talking to young people and with everything I can read about being a teen Goth, but it certainly helps.
A friend of mine wrote a prize-winning book set in Kerala, India, which she produced not long after a holiday there. It’s full of sensory detail about sights, sounds, smells and tactile experiences. She’s currently working on the sequel and after a long, grey and chilly summer in Northumberland, she tells me it’s hard work. I’m not surprised! She’s now booked another trip to Kerala and I know this will fire up her writing again.
I’ve heard writers say they don’t have to have visited a place to write about it. If they can do it with real authenticity, then I truly admire that skill. My own imagination needs a much more physical boost. A few more ‘days out’  - sorry, research field trips – are on the cards!
 Find out more about Bea by visiting our Author, Books & Review Pages

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Things You Shouldn't Say to an Author!

Following on from yesterdays humorous post with D I Ingram we’ve added a few more classic sayings, “So You’re A Writer…!”

“You’re a writer? That's great because people in their old age should have a hobby.”

"You've written a children's book? Are you going to try to write a proper book next?"

"Don't be downhearted - that JK Rowling had lots of rejections and look at her now!"

"A writer? Uh-oh, are you going to put me in your novel?"

“OMG, a three book deal? How big was your advance? Who bought it?"

‎"Do you have a proper job as well as writing?"

“I'm going to write a book when I have time!"

“How's the amateur writing going?"

“You're an author? Can I borrow a couple hundred dollars?"

'You write book! Nice that you have time on your hands."

“Do you have a pen I can borrow? (Don't ask a writer this because you'll embarrass them. For some unknown, illogical reason, writers never have pens on them.)!"

“I’m a writer.” “Yes, but what do you really do?”
‎"Can I send you my book / story / poem / essay / idea?"

‎"You're a writer? you must have a lot of time on your hands"

“You write romance books? Anyone can write one of those - look at those M&B writers”.

“You're a writer? That's great! Of course I hear it's pretty easy these days, what with the computer and internet and all ...!"

‎"Well everyone has a book in them..." & "I keep meaning to write a book.”

“You're a writer, OH! you're self published. Are you going to get a real publisher?”

‎"So, you've had your work published? is that by one of those Vanity press places, where you have to send them money to see your name in print?"

“Oh you've written a book. That's a bit like a big essay isn't it?”

We hope these made you smile or cringe!

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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

What Not To Say To An Author!

If you want a chuckle today then reads this wonderful post by Debbie Ingram, also known as D I Ingram, author of Poppy Days and Angel Girls.

I do a surprising amount of my writing whilst relaxing in the bath. All in my head of course! Then I have to scuttle off to the lap top to actually write it all down, before the words trickle out of my head again and disappear down the plug hole along with the dirty bath water. I find I work best when I am relaxed and sort of off guard. it's not that I don't concentrate, but I seem to get my best idea's when I am not inhibited or having to worry about honing my craft. Nothing quite like tapping away with gay abandon when I get an idea in my head. 

I read as many advise posts as I can of course, and take all the extremely helpful advise on board, but it does stop the flow of words for me if I am constantly worrying about where to put that comma or semi colon. I suppose I still need to develop that thick skin and take criticism on the chin. Obviously I'm not quite there yet!

Which brings me to the things that no one should ever say to a writer. Or maybe I am just too easily crushed? Joking aside, I have found that people who do not write have some very strange ideas about those of us who do! some comments have made me laugh out loud. I was once asked "If you are a writer why aren't you rich then?" which of course, I have wondered myself time and time again! haven't we all? Then there was the astonished window cleaner who said "How come you don't talk posh if you're a writer?"  now that one really did make me chuckle! There was also the jaw dropping snobbery from a very posh sounding teacher (I worked  as a technician in the school at the time) who actually dropped her fork at the lunch table when she was informed that I had a degree and also wrote poetry. I told her sweetly that yes, I even did joined up writing and I was actually able to read books with no pictures in them. She however, missed the sarcasm dripping from my tongue. May be if I had delivered my little speech in Latin she would have got my drift more. 

My own dear father also had a talent for opening his mouth and putting his foot in it. I told him excitedly many years ago that I had got my first poem published and he remarked "Oh yes, I've heard about those vanity press publishers. They take your money and you get to see your name in print" well, that certainly took the wind out of my sails! and for the record I have never had to pay any one in order to see my name in print. There was a sad irony about my father's comment, as after his death my brother came across a pile of poems that our father had actually written himself and he gave me  copies. Even though he knew I had always loved writing my father never once mentioned that he too loved to write. I learned more about my father from his poems after he died than I ever knew in his living years. I discovered that he had had some of his work published in our local newspaper. It was too late of course to tell him I was proud of his accomplishment. I always make sure now that I give praise and encouragement where it is due now. One day it may be too late.

May be it is the writer in me that never forgets what people say, good or bad. I think we all collect words. I know I have a sort of mental scrap book, where even if the words sting and cause me pain I try to be philosophical. I can always use that emotion in the next book! So, nothing is wasted, and for that I am grateful. A sweet woman who I know from friendly nods whilst dog walking, refers to me as "The little lady with the dogs who writes books" I can live with that. In fact, maybe I'll have that engraved on my head stone. Along with the epitaph "She can do joined up writing, too" of course!

Find out more about Debbie by visiting our Author, Books & Review Pages

Monday, 10 September 2012

Promoting – Confessions of a Luddite!

An amusing look at Confessions of a Luddite by Serena Fairfax Well, social networking is the root of all promotions so take it away, take it away, take  it away.
I attended a seminar at which there were a number of indie and traditionally published writers – the latter under pressure from publishers to do their share of promotion.  We were told to cast our bread upon the waters, so I went off to sail into the wind...
Facebook-   Easier said than done. Spent an entire weekend trying to sign up  and at last, by accident not design, after random fumbling, at last managed it.  Success you might say but wait- couldn’t get my head round it.  Eventually semaphored  a frantic SOS to my computer guru who spent 4 hours with me explaining what all the descriptions in the margin signified and how to post.  After  he’d left  there was a debacle because I began  adopting   all  the advertisers as friends and  wrote a comment, expecting  it to appear, only I didn’t remember to  press the enter button. Another time I clicked the like button followed by accidentally clicking the unlike button thus probably inadvertently offending many lovely people.   Still haven’t got to grips enabling a shared link from elsewhere   to appear on my Facebook page and still can’t post pictures despite guru’s tuition.  What a palaver. I tremble to use it now as it’s become like the sword of Damocles poised to descend at any mis-conceived action.
Twitter: Wasn’t sharp enough to limit tweet to 140. Couldn’t get the hang of retweeting and found nothing to tweet about. Again the cavalry (computer guru) galloped to the rescue.
Amazon author forums- Dearly beloved we are joined together in holy matrimony! So easy to post in lots of categories. Snug as a bug in a rug.  Till death us do part.
Goodreads- virtually impossible for me, as author to navigate and I’ve heard likewise from other writers.  If you post in the wrong section, you get roundly ticked off. Scylla to
Mobilreads’ Charybdis   - again a minefield  with  moderator cracking the whip if you   post in the wrong section.
Pinterest - joined it but  I’m  all at sea.
Outcome: Everything’s a marathon.  Before I know it I’ve spent half a day when I intended to spend no more than an hour. Exhausted, demoralised and mired in the Slough of Despond.

Find out more about Serena and her books by visiting our Author & Books Pages

Saturday, 8 September 2012

HUG A BOOK with Fenella J Miller

It's HUG A BOOK day with Fenella J Miller and you could win a Kindle copy of The Duke's Reform and Bride for a Duke

The Duke's Reform

The Duke of Rochester marries Lady Isobel Drummond in order to obtain an heir. She marries him to save her family from financial ruin but also because she's fallen in love with the dissolute duke. Alexander, Lord Bentley, realises how much he loves his wife after he has driven her away by his objectionable behaviour.
Can he convince Isobel he is a changed man?
Can Isobel forgive the man she once loved? 

Bride For A Duke

Grace Hadley has no option but to agree to a marriage of convenience with handsome, young Lord Rupert Shalford. If she does not do this, Sir John Radcliffe, her step-father, will sell her to the highest bidder. However, Rupert's older brother Ralph, The Duke of Westchester, has ideas of his own and is determined to have the union dissolved. Sir John is equally determined to discover the whereabouts of his missing step-daughter. 

The Question:
Where do Allegra and Richard live?

Add your answer to the comment box and you could just be the winner to HUG a Kindle copy of The Dukes Reform & Bride For A Duke

All Fenella's books can be found on all Amazon sites

Don't forget there are over SIXTY book's on our Books Page, the shelves are heaving, there’s plenty to hug