Tag Archive: authors


Hey all, check this out!!

Jo Edwards,  my fellow author at Weasel Green Press, got her book Work Wife Balance reviewed in the Daily Mail Online, and they loved it!!

Jo’s book immediately shot up to #1 in Business Humour on UK Amazon so it is now legitimately a No. 1 Bestseller… It is very well-written and funny, and if there are any fans of The Office out there you are going to enjoy it a great deal.

(Buy-link from the review – I’m about 2/3rds of the way through it myself, and strongly recommend that you have a look….)

JAC

Dear all –

First an apology – this should have gone up last night but my computer is still having the occasional temper tantrum, and so I am a day later. But better late than never, esp in this case where our guest is none other than Prue Batten, who will be telling us about her new book Gisborne; Book of Pawns.

I asked Prue for a biog, and this is what she sent me;

“The best way to describe myself would be to use a quote written         about me by Mark Williams on a blog  (http://markwilliamsinternational.com/) in 2011. Since then, Mark has become my UK digital publisher through his highly successful  publishing house: MWiDP.

Here are his tongue-in-cheek words: ‘She lives in Tasmania, has a pet Tasmanian Devil called Gisborne, eats kangaroos’ testicles, has the most ridiculous one-star ever awarded on Amazon, and wrote a novel on Twitter…’

Believe it or not, most of it is true. My husband and I do own a farm so we have lots of kangaroos around, but the testicles? NEVER! As to the Tasmanian Devil? Not really the right sort of animal to cosy up to; besides, as reported in the Huffington Post, http://huff.to/f3zxSd the Devils are suffering the ravaging effects of a disease that is bringing them to the edge of extinction.

I do have a one star rating on Amazon… a woman bought my first book thinking it was an embroidery book, despite the blurb, and then gave ME a one star despite HER mistake.

And yes, myself and 50 others wrote a Jane Austen style novel on Twitter, [(#A4T) http://www.austenproject.com] which was mentioned by The Times (UK) no less as it took off in 2011.

Me in a nutshell!”

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That is indeed a corking biog! So without further ado, let me hand you over to Prue, and let’s find out a bit more about her take on one of the characters from the UK’s favourite folk-legend, and just what he looks like! JAC

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How many of you might have watched the BBC’s version of Robin Hood?

Being a lover of all things historical, both dramatic and less so, I did and I was honestly charmed by the in-jokes, the modern turn of phrase, the olde costumes with an edge and the slightly left field storylines.

In Series Two I began to hear a rather lovely male voice, one I hadn’t noticed in the first series – fans since have called it velvet, although how a voice can be velvet I don’t know… perhaps it’s the feel that tickles your spine as you hear the tone. At any rate, I was sewing at the time, and I remember looking up to see whose was the voice. It appeared to be an actor called Richard Armitage and whom I subsequently found out had an Army named after him and a global legion of fans devoted to him!

And so my affaire with Guy of Gisborne was conceived.

At the end of Series Three, I went to an online site called www.wattpad.com only to find that many fans were re-writing the series in flash-fiction form. And as I washed the floors one day, I began to imagine what Guy of Gisborne might have been without Robin Hood, without the Sheriff of Nottingham. And heresy… without Maid Marian!

Thus Gisborne the novel began – far from the traditional trope.

I began detailed research into the twelfth century, structuring the story as pure historical fiction. (I have an innate love of the hist.fict novel, stirred and fanned in the first instance by the inimitable Rosemary Sutcliffe from my childhood).

Eighteen months later I have finished writing the first in the series. I say ‘series’ advisedly because whilst there is definitely to be Volume Two, I think there could even be Volume Three… but of course my plots take me on strange journeys and Vol 2 may be the conclusion.

Gisborne, my protagonist, is based very loosely on his dopplegänger Armitage, or at least how Armitage portrayed the man… the tall, dark, embittered knight who abhors life.

So what is it that makes this man so raw?

Ah… well that’d be telling, wouldn’t it?

A postscript: The idea for a second volume came from a short story called Gisborne that I wrote for a miniature book press in America (www.bopressminiaturebooks.com) in 2011. The tiny bespoke book led me on such a journey, sold and is selling well, so that the publisher and myself sent one to the man who inspired it. We received a kind letter back, sent from his UK home in Leicestershire, whilst on a break from filming The Hobbit in New Zealand.

The short story prompted me to think hard on the ending for Vol 1 and to see that changed and manipulated, it might lead Gisborne down another even more convoluted road. Thus Volume Two is on its way!

Buy it from Amazon US and Amazon UK

The novel will be available for all other readers (eg: Nook, Kobo, i-Pad etc) by the beginning of March. It will be available in print with all online distributors in May.

Useful links:

Website: http://www.pruebatten.com

Blog: http://www.mesmered.wordpress.com

Twitter: @pruebatten

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Prue.Batten.writer

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So there you have it, guys, and many thanks to Prue for that little slice of gossip!

If you’re curious about Richard Armitage, here’s the link to his IMDB page and if you’re curious about Prue, please do go and check out her blog – sounds as if the next part of the story will be out soon, and you’ll get the news first that way!

Have a good weekend all – for the next couple of weeks I am having a push on the editing so please do check back here, but if posting is a bit sporadic it should only be for the next month or two while I concentrate on getting Book 2 out into the open.

Catch you later, peeps!

JAC

Hey all:

This week’s guest post is by another alumni of Creative Reviews, no less than Beth Ann Masarik. She has recently brought out Prince of Darkness, part of her trilogy The World Among Us. So all you fantasy  / romance fans, take a look at her interview below and be aware that she’s going to do a giveaway- there will be a couple of great prizes, all to be had for a simple comment below.

I leave you in Beth’s capable hands!

JAC

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Name: Beth Ann Masarik

Author of: The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness

Genre/s: Young Adult/Fantasy (Urban Fantasy)

P- or e-book: All formats…paperback, hardcover, and e-book

Available from:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords & Otherworld Publications

One-sentence summary: The World Among Us is a Young Adult/Fantasy Trilogy that has plenty of Greek Mythology & Vampire lore, and of course, forbidden love.

  One-sentence biog: I love to write, read and    role play.

 Links to your Blog / Twitter / FB / other:

The World Among Us Fanpage,

My Author fanpage

 Twitter accounts:

@theworldamongus &

@literarylunes

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When you write, do you have a routine or habit?

I usually like to write in my bed, with my pajamas on, and the music blasting in the background. I usually listen to something fast beat.  This is going to sound weird, but I like to try to write to the beat of the music. Does anyone else do that?  I also usually have either a glass of Pepsi or mom’s homemade iced tea & a bag of chips with me when I write.

What kicks off the book – a character, a situation, a plot-point? 

Usually a situation is what kicks off my books.

Do you plan the plot or follow it as it unfolds? How much do you know in advance? 

I usually do very little planning.  I like to have set goals or situations that have to happen in each book I write.  Otherwise, I usually just let my characters write the books, and I dictate.  Sometimes, however, my characters tend to sidetrack, and I have to get them back on track and plot a little bit.

Do you write character notes or background information?

Yes!  That is mostly what I plot. It’s how I get to know my characters.

Do you do research and how?

It depends on the topic I am writing about, but yes, I do research.  I usually browse the internet for said topic, and keep looking until I find whatever it is I am looking for.

Do your characters do as you intend or do they tend to run away with the plot? 

My main characters are generally good with doing what I want them to. However, once in a while they tend to get off track.

Do you have clear visuals of places or characters? 

Most of the time, yes I do.  It’s getting that vision into words that’s the problem sometimes.

When you have writer’s block, what do you do? 

When I have writer’s block, I usually put the book down for however long I need to, and read.  I usually read books in the genre I write in, and after a while, something I read or see in real life will spark an idea. I find that going to church is actually a good place to get inspiration from.  I often find myself zoning out of the homily’s after the gospel during mass, and entering the thoughts of my characters.  It’s a nice escape I have to say (especially if the sermon is really boring lol)

What made you decide to write this story? 

I’ve always been into the fantasy world, and love vampires and witches (not so much werewolves).  It was one of those stories that once I got the idea for it, it just HAD to be written.

What element did you start with and how did it develop? 

I started out with knowing the last ¼ of The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness, and developed the story around it.  It sounds complicated, and I guess you could say I kind of wrote the book backwards, but it developed nicely (I think).

Did anything change substantially along the way?

Sometimes something that started as a detail suddenly becomes a plot point. Have you had that happen and what was it (if it would not be a spoiler to say)?  I am sure that I have, but to be honest, I can’t remember a specific detail.  (there are just too many).

Do you have a favorite character or place? 

I hate being asked about my favorite character lol. It’s like being asked if you have a favorite child.  I love them all.  In terms of a favorite place, I would have to say Mount Olympus.  You don’t get to visit it much in Prince of Darkness, but you will get to see why it’s my favorite in Stormy Nights.

Are any of your characters / places / situations based on real life? 

Some of the places are loosely based off of places that I frequently visit in real life.  IE, Holly Oak University is based off the college I went to, and Port Washington is a real town in NY.  It’s in Nassau County, Long Island.

What are your views on self-publishing? 

If you have what it takes, go for it!  I self-publish my magazine called Literary Lunes (www.literarylunes.com), so I know that it’s a lot of hard work, and can be very frustrating if you don’t know what you are doing.  BUT if you have the time and patience, then by all means, all the more power to you!

What are your views on e-books?

I think e-books are great and convenient for traveling, but, I still prefer to hold the actual book in my hand.

Do you have / are you considering getting an e-reader?

I actually just received an e-reader for Christmas from my fiancé.  I received the Nook Color J.

Did you have your cover made /  work edited / proofed by someone else?

My cover was designed by someone that Otherworld hired.  James from JE Ellis Design designed it.

What do you do to market your book? 

I talk about it all the time on facebook, twitter etc. I have a fanpage on facebook (www.facebook.com/theworldamongus), and my twitter handle is also the title of my book @theworldamongus.  This way, whenever someone sees the name, they are always thinking or talking about my book (even when they don’t realize it!)

Are you on any social media? Which do you prefer? 

I am on too many social media websites. I am on so many, that I can barely keep up with them all.  I personally prefer facebook & twitter as opposed to myspace, however.

What has proved your most successful marketing method so far? 

Networking sites such as facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.  They are MUST HAVES, especially for new authors.  Blogging is also proving to be successful as well.

Have you read and enjoyed any other indie authors? Who / what book? 

I’m honestly only just starting with reading some Indie authors, and the one that I just read was called Legacy of the Highlands by Harriet Schultz.  It’s a new, romantic thriller that has you on the edge of your seat right to the very end.  It was out of my normal genre (YA/Fantasy), so it took me a chapter or two to really get into it. BUT once I got into it, I was hooked.  I will be writing a review for it on www.literarylunespublications.blogspot.com over the next week.

Have you any tips for other authors? 

Be kind to your fans & readers.  If you’re on a pedestal, step down.  No one likes a stuck up author.  Be humble.  If someone takes the time out to review your book, be sure to thank them, or pay it forward. If you received a bad review, take it with a grain of salt.  Remember, a review is ONLY ONE PERSON’S OPINION.

Which book review sites do you read?

I honestly try to avoid reading book review websites BUT I absolutely ADORE everyone that has been participating on my tour.  It’s hard to pick just one.

Which review sites have reviewed your book? 

Too many to list.  If you take a look at the tour list on www.bethannmasarik.com or www.bahbammymusings.wordpress.com you will get an idea of who’s reviewed me.

Are there any resources you have found really useful? 

Goodreads is a goldmine for authors, writers, and yes, even readers.  It’s a great way to connect with your fans and the general audience.  There are lots of great books out there, and Goodreads is a great resource to finding them.

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Many thanks to Beth for the interview, and now for the giveaway – Beth has kindly offered prizes for you! There will be the chance to win an ebook, a fanclub Tshirt and possibly a mug, which could be yours! To enter, please leave a comment below…. and if you know other fantasy / romance fans, please let them know as well!

Thanks to Beth for this great opportunity;

JAC

Dear all –

Happy New Year! And slightly belatedly, here is the long-promised Guestpost kindly written by Barbara Silkstone, writer of the Fractured Fairy Tales series. A bit of preamble:

………………

Name: Barbara Silkstone

Author of:

Books in the Fractured Fairy Tales by Silkstone series:
The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters


Wendy and the Lost Boys


London Broil


Snow White
– coming in 2012

 

Genre: Comedy Mysteries

Available for Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook (Amazon links at bottom of post)

My books are criminally funny fables frequently taking place between Miami and London – Snarky and Pythonesque.  I blog about eBooks and famous authors I’ve  met under silly circumstances: PD James, Stephen King, and Robert B.Parker, etc.

 Links:

http://barbswire-ebooksandmore.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Silkstone/e/B0047L8A8W

http://www.facebook.com/people/Barbara-Silkstone/100000778601230

http://twitter.com/#!/barbsilkstone

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I get up at 4 am every morning to write. I think most writers know the time of day when their creativity peaks and when it slides into the valley. I’m strong at 4 am and 4 pm. I’m not worth a fig – creatively – in the evening. That’s when I pull out my Kindle. I don’t own a television. I gave mine away a few years ago and haven’t really missed it since I have my eReader.

Fairy Tales are my launching point. I’ve had so many strange things happen in my life and each episode can be easily related to a fairy tale or fable.  Often I know where the story is going to end up. It’s the journey that amazes me. I draw on some of the wackier events in my life.  I was born under the Sign of Silly and seem to get into the craziest scrapes. I love comedy.

The art of writing comedy is tricky. Drama is pretty clear cut. Something bad happens; there is loss, or betrayal. Comedy requires timing and execution, plus a talent for reaching universal humor. That’s the challenge. What’s funny to a fifty-year-old woman in New York may not touch the funny bone of a young mom in Texas. Our sense of humor is defined by the experiences we’ve endured. No two people “get” the same silly joke the same way.  How do I create that intimate feeling of sharing a chuckle with a friend? I assume my readers are my friends. If they don’t get it then they aren’t my ideal readers. And that’s okay. My Alice in Wonderland book has 40 / five star reviews in US. So most readers get my play on British-American humor.

I usually don’t write character notes. I seem to know the most intimate details of my lunatic bad guys. My women sleuths are all extensions of me. My characters are like old friends or nasty bullies whose stories I heard once and never forgot. So, are my quirky folks in my books based on real characters? Yup. They are blended and shaken, not stirred. Frequently my characters run away with the plot, but when I draw from my own life I shock the knickers off them.

Wendy and the Lost Boys required quite a bit of research. It takes place aboard Charlie Hook’s yacht, one of the larger private vessels in the world. I had to learn about luxury ships. Not first-hand but by reading and asking advice from yacht experts. The Predator is a yacht chock-full of high tech gadgets both real and imaginary including a cloaking device that makes the super-yacht invisible.

Wendy had to learn to fly a helicopter to rescue her friends. I needed a chopper pilot to guide me especially  since Wendy is afraid to fly. Then there were the geographic challenges. Wendy is kidnapped in the Caribbean, and is forced to trek by truck to a goat farm in north Georgia in pursuit of treasure. I put that character through hoops!   *Cackle, cackle.*

London Broil was a delight to write. It was just published in early December and is the sequel to Wendy and the Lost Boys.  Wendy and her archaeologist love-interest race to recover a rare antiquity stolen from the British Museum. I had great fun playing with some of my favorite places in London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and of course, the British Museum. I’m a bug on Egyptology and loved doing that research and creating rare antiquities.

Algy Green reappears in London Broil after making his appearance in The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland. He’s a bad guy who super-glues his sugar-bowl ears to his head. They pop loose at the strangest times. He’s based on someone I knew who glued his ears to his noggin. Strange dude.

It sounds horrible to admit, but I’ve never had writer’s block. I’ve waited so long for the luxury of time to write that I’m like a bottle of champagne, shaken and then uncorked. I bubble over with ideas. I just hope I live to be 125 so I can get them all on paper.

I adore eBooks and love the state of eBook publishing right now. I sold over 2000 Wendy books in November. That could never have happened in the old horse and buggy traditional publishing days. I now have fans around the globe which would have been impossible two years ago. As an Indie you can be all you want and more. It takes 12-16 hours a day of hard work writing and marketing, but it is so worth it. I have two professional editors, a covey of beta-readers, and a wonderful book cover designer, and the best fans in the world.

About 75% of my friends own eReaders. Face Book  and Twitter are great for reaching your ideal readers. Word of mouth is super. The sites that are subscription based for eReader owners are the best way to get word out about your eBooks.

Following are just a few of the many sites my books have been reviewed on:

Red Adept Reviews, ChicklitClub.com,  Bock on Broadway, Tiffany’s Bookshelf, GirlsWhoLovetoRead.com, and  Mark Williams International.

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters has received 40/ five star reviews. My newest book, London Broil received a five star review from best-selling British author, Sibel Hodge.  Wendy and the Lost Boys has an average 4.8 out of 5 stars.

 

eBooks that I won’t forget:

The Ex-Boyfriend’s Hand Book  by Matt Dunn

Sweet Ophelia by Kenneth Rosenberg

Both are romantic comedies written by men.

I adored A Thousand Glass Flowers written by Australian Author, Prue Batten. There are too many wonderful indie books to mention in one post.

 

 At the end 0f Dec 2011, what progress have you made this year?  

I published two more novels :Wendy and the Lost Boys and London Broil.

Both Wendy and the Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland were in the top ten best-selling comedies. At one time they were both in the top twenty at the exact same time. Wendy became a #3 best-seller ranking over major comedy writers in the US.

I was honored to take part in an anthology, the proceeds of which go to benefit breast cancer research. The Indie Chick Anthology introduced me to twenty-five inspiring women who share their stories on overcoming incredible obstacles. I highly recommend it.

Where will you be with your writing in Dec 2012?

Two more novels and two more anthologies.  Snow White will be a continuation of my Fractured Fairy Tale series, and the other will be another adventure with Wendy and her archaeologist lover, Roger Jolley. They will be recovering more stolen Egyptian artifacts.

What are your predictions for the year?

It’s impossible to predict. Each day brings new changes in the industry. Not sure what will happen I just know we are not going backwards.

 

Regarding your deeply personal questions:

 

Liquorice can never be evil. It is one of the best flavors.

Cats or dogs?  Cats rule! Love their independence and haughtiness.

Favourite recipe? Kentucky Fried Chicken – extra crispy.

Favourite gadget?  Dental floss

Favourite wine / beverage / coffee?  I only drink fine champagne, water, and coffee.

Unusual phobias or talents?  Phobia… I hate holes in fabrics. I’ve had this phobia since I was an infant. I’ve never met anyone else who shares my freak-out from holes in cloth. When I go to the hairdresser or nail salon, they know to hide any towels that might have the slightest inkling of a hole. If I’m shopping and I see a selection of ladies jeans with holes in them… I leave the store. I get the shudders just thinking about holes in fabrics.  Let’s leave this topic. Yuck!

Onto the New Year ~

Wishing all a glorious 2012… full of surprises… never boring… always challenging.  May the wind be at your back… because it hurts when it blows in your eyes.

Love,

Barbara Silkstone

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So there you have it, folks! Now, while you’re all raring to investigate these witty rewrites of old favourites, here are the links for you! So do check out the following, and  if you have any questions or comments for Barbara, hit the button and have your say!!

Thanks to Barbara for answering all these questions for us. More next week but I haven’t planned what yet (Christmas mayhem, don’t ask!) but here for your delectation are the Fractured Fairytale links – download the sample and take a look?

Catch you later guys:

JAC

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Barbara’s books and where to buy them:

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy and the Lost Boys

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

London Broil

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men and One Woman

Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk

 

Barb’s Wire – eBooks & More

 

A Moose Walked into a Bar –  (group blog)

 

Morning all –

and look what we have here! How will you recover from the excitement of not ONE but TWO new releases in ten days?! So, hopefully you all read Cambria’s story and left a review, right? (She wants to know what you think, you know). Well, just as you’re starting to look around and wonder what literary wonders you should segue onto, here for your delectation is a guest-blog by none other than CS Splitter, author of the Crayder Chronicles.

As regulars will know, Splitter is one of the more fnar-prone members of Creative Reviews and is a contributor to (not to mention the main instigator of) the Christmas Lites Anthology due out next week, so do comment, heckle, or if you feel really inspired, Tweet the link to his new book, out 21st November! I can’t comment just yet as my copy is still on the Kindle which is locked firmly in a drawer till I’ve got ODS2 out for you, but the goss down in Creative Reviews is that the Crayder Chronicles rock…. and that’s just the more critical reviews!

I have been warned by two or three persons of good judgement that Tom Crayder as a character is going to infuriate me until I accidentally end up liking him! So I for one am really looking forward to having a read, and judging by the first chapter which I have seen, you should BY NO MEANS believe Splitter when he says he sucks. Methinks the writer doth protest too much….

So read his blog, admire the covers, Tweet the link and do go check out the samples on Amazon. I mean, you could always throw underwear but there’s a bit of a cross-wind at the moment so it’d probably hit Bill Oddie or someone. Me, I’d go for the Tweet but then perhaps Bill Oddie would appreciate the attention, who knows? I’ll leave it to your good selves….

And so without further ado, let me hand you over to the lovely C.S Splitter!

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splitter crayder chronicles

C S Splitter, author of The Crayder Chronicles

Name: C.S. Splitter

Author of: The Reluctant and The Willing

Genre/s: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Mystery, Humor, Crime

P- or e-book: Both books are available as eBooks right now (The Willing to be released November 21st)  and will be available in print early in 2012.

Available from:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Crayder-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B004VS751O/

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52864

Journal Stone:  http://journal-store.com/bookstore/the-reluctant/

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/c-s-splitter

ibooks:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-reluctant/id449636851?mt=11

and other internet resellers.  Books are also available through other internet retailers and on Amazon’s international sites (UK, Germany, etc..)

One-sentence summary:

The justice system failed but Tom Crayder will not.

One-sentence biog:

C.S. Splitter is a business man, author, and stand-up philosopher living in rural Maryland with his beautiful wife, small dog, and astonishingly large cat.

Your links:

Blog – http://splittersworld.blogspot.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002241805910

Twitter:  @SplitterCS


Book cover Reluctant Crayder Chronicles SplitterCS Splitter Crayder Chronicles 2 The Willing

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Indie Mistakes and Lessons

Since I will never be able to convince you, the reader, that I am an expert in the field of self publishing, let me take the easy route and convince you that I am stupid.  I see that look on your face – you are already believing me.  Good!  Here we go:

One of my earliest memories as a child was sitting on someone’s hip in the kitchen, either my grandmother or my mother (they were both there), and being told not to touch the hot stove.  I do not remember the pain, but I remember the angry red circles on my palm and the commotion that ensued among the adults.  They were right; the stove was hot.

Apparently, I need to figure out things for myself.  I am dense like that and have a whole file full of stories from my life to prove it.  You do not have to be so dense and you will not be if you read on.

In 2010, ideas for a character and then for a story hit me.  Hard.  I had to write it.

That lightning bolt from the heavens came a decade too late.  I had spent more than ten years trying to come up with an idea for a fantasy book, my favorite genre to read.  I would get an idea, begin to outline it or write it, and then realize that it had been done before and probably in a better way than I could ever hope to duplicate.  I gave up writing fiction.

It did not matter that, when I finally got a good and original idea, it was in a totally different genre without swords, or castles, or princesses to rescue.  I had to write it.  It was that powerful.  The will to write fiction was back in a big way.

I began enthusiastically tapping away on my laptop and the first few chapters flew by.  I bogged down in the middle of the book and had to abandon my original outline for an even better idea.  I struggled through that period and, as Paul Harvey would have said, “the rest of the story” just flowed until the end.

I did it!  I wrote a book.  I did a little dance, consumed some alcohol, and dreamt of the fame and fortune that would be coming my way.  I had no idea whether or not the work was any good, but the dreaming was fun.  For a while.

Reality set in when I re-read my book.  The story…well, in all modesty…I think it was good.  The writing seemed fine, too.  After all, I had read hundreds of books in my life and knew how to spell and punctuate and not end a sentence in a preposition.  At least, I thought I did.

I had to make hundreds of corrections on my subsequent readings.  After about six re-reads and self-edits, it was ready to release.  I hated my own book by that point because I could almost recite it verbatim.  People read it and liked it—and sent me emails showing me where mistakes still lurked.  I fixed them and put out ten or more revised versions.  Everything had to be fixed by then, right?  Right?

Not by a long shot.  By the time the book had ten reviews, all four and five stars, there were still problems.  My readers, as thorough as they were, did not catch all of the book’s flaws.  But, the story and the characters were good enough to make them like the book.

By the time I figured this out, I was mostly done with the first draft of the second book in the series (The Crayder Chronicles).  I didn’t need to beg (as much) for alpha and beta readers for the second book because I had the contact information for some readers who liked the first book.  My alpha/beta readers are the BEST!  They tore into the second book and sent me lists of little errors that needed correcting.

Every time I made corrections on the second book, I sent out a revised file to the beta readers.  Right down to the last one, they kept finding little errors.  I was well on my way to having to publish the second book, The Willing, and do many revisions just like I had done with the first book.

Did I really want to repeat those mistakes?  Did I really want early readers getting less than my best effort?  Did I really want to keep finding little typos and having to correct them by updating the files on sites like Amazon and Smashwords?

No, I did not.  I am not really bright, but I do try to learn as I go and, as a side note, I have never laid my hand flat on a red hot stove burner again (at least, not on purpose).  I got an editor, Tricia Kristufek.  I call her the “Comma Queen.”  She started with my second book and worked her way back through the first book.

It was apparent that after all of the “cloud editing” that my alpha and beta readers did for me and even after readers pointed out typos as they praised the characters and story, I still sucked as a writer.

“Sucked” is a harsh word.  I guess I didn’t suck compared to some of the bad indie work I have seen out there, but I wasn’t “clean” either.  I did not want to be one of “those” indie authors who put out junk, so I got an editor.  A real editor who could give the books a little polish.  My editor showed me why “sucked” was really not too strong a term for me.

I say all of that to say this: learn from my mistakes.  That is lesson one.  Do not touch hot stoves and do not needlessly cause yourself heartache and embarrassment.  I have already done that for you!

It is terribly embarrassing, in retrospect, to know that the there were still too many mistakes in the first book, even with the last revision, before I had it edited.  How many potential readers downloaded those first couple chapters and noticed something that turned them off?  How many publishers?

See—I have bad habits as a writer.  I can say that freely because if you are a writer, you probably have some too.  I even see bad habits FREQUENTLY on display from well known authors from Big Six publishing houses.

So here is lesson two: You are making mistakes in your writing that you do not even realize and you need someone looking over your shoulder from a totally new perspective that will point them out to you.  Get an editor.  Somehow, some way, get an editor.  See lesson one for a refresher on “why.”

Because I am doomed to analyze positively everything, I thought back and tried to figure out why I had made the mistake of putting out that first book too quickly and with too many errors.  I thought back to how I felt when I was writing that book and how wonderful it felt when I “finished” it.  That was it!  I rushed the book out to be published because I was excited and because I did not know any better.

Lesson three: There is no hurry.  Wait.  Refine.  Think about it.  Do some research.  If you have read this far, you no longer have an excuse for not knowing better…I took care of that for you by making those mistakes already.  See lesson one!

Am I sorry I made so many mistakes with the first book?  Not really.  It turned out just fine in the end.  The characters and the story were always good, or so I have been told.  The writing was where I was mostly falling short and that was fixable.

Plus, I found some wonderful alpha and beta readers that will, hopefully, be available to me as I put out future books in the series.  I made friends that included other authors and bunches of readers and reviewers.

I have one more lesson for you today, take it for what it is worth: your cover is probably bad and is costing you sales.  Did I mention how bad my original covers probably were?  I say “probably” because, as someone who lacks any hint of artistic ability, I made them.  So, when I decided to finally start marketing the series, I started working with Dafeenah from IndieDesignz.  I basically just said, “Here is what my story is about, here are the themes I want to follow, please make me a good cover.”  She delivered in a HUGE way for the cover of The Reluctant.

Here is where the writer of this article should double back and convince you, once again, that he/she is such an expert that you should be following his/her advice.  I will tell you truthfully; I am no expert.  I am just an indie writer fighting his way through this new aspect of the publishing industry.  All I can really tell you is that I am, or have been, where you are or were.  That’s not far yet, but maybe someday…

Splitter

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

So once again, many thanks to Splitter for coming to play today! His new book The Willing is out on 21st, so do check out The Reluctant if you haven’t already looked.

Next week, we have a Q&A with Shane Porteous who will tell us a little about his  new book – one for the werewolf fans among you, he tells me! And further down the line we will have blogs from MTMaguire and Lexi Revellian and if all goes to plan, quite possibly On Dark Shores 2: The Other Nereia though that will be further into December.

So as always, add your comments below and tell us if you’ve already read The Reluctant, what you know of The Willing,and indeed whether your undies hit Bill Oddie after all…

Have a great weekend, peeps!

JAC

Hey peeps –
ain’t we the lucky ones today?! For why you ask (or at least those of you who didn’t read the title do)??
.
Because today we have a special guest post with the lovely Cambria Hebert, published paranormal author, fellow member of the Creative Reviews group on Goodreads (click the button over there on the right if you haven’t visited there yet) and general lovely nutter. This is her, look:
Hot chick with thiing for werewolves

Hot chick with thing for werewolves

Now boys, calm down (girls, she is just as lovely as she looks). She has kindly agreed to answer some questions for this blog to celebrate the release of short story Before, which will be released for your enjoymen and delectation on 18th November, no less and is a taster forher main novel Masquerade, due to hit the shelves on 16th December. Her blog is full of amusing and entertaining stuff, and her book trailers are WAY cool! Especially the one for the short story White-out which is frankly the best book trailer I’ve seen in some time. She is also one of the main culprits responsible for the Creative Reviews Charity Anthology, Christmas Lites, due out on Nov 26th,  so keep an eye out for all of these literary amuse-bouches.
So – let’s hear from the lady herself….

Name: Cambria Hebert

Title: Before

(more details  and frankly fabulous cover are at end of post)

Format: Ebook (no links yet)

One sentence summary:  What if your life was charmed and everything in it was perfect… Before.

One sentence author bio: Cambria is an author, blogger, latte sipper who loves werewolves and just knows a toilet snake is waiting to get her.

Links:

Website: http://www.cambriahebert.com

Blog: http://www.theunlockeddiary.blogspot.com

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cambria-Hebert/128278117253138

Twitter: @cambriahebert

1.  When writing Before what element did you start with and how did it develop?

Before is the prequel to my debut novel, Masquerade, so I used the novel as a jumping off point. Masquerade is based on Heven, a teenage girl who had the perfect life before there was an accident and she was left horribly disfigured on the left side of her face. She is then treated with caution and considered a freak. Heven can’t remember the accident or how she got her scars. Before is about Heven about her life before her accident and the trouble that is lurking in the background that she doesn’t see….

 2.  What was most difficult about writing Before?

The most difficult thing is that it is a short story and shorts are hard!!! Trying to pack some interest and action into such a short amount of writing. Also, I felt a lot of pressure to make it be enticing so people will want to read Masquerade.

 3. Do your characters do as you intend or do they run away with the plot?

They run away with the plot – always!! That’s why it’s so fun to write! Once I researched a character’s name for an hour, picked one out and then wrote the scene where the character came into the book. When he was asked his name he said something else!!! I was like all that time researching wasted! I couldn’t force his name because he never would have been quiet in my head. I would have insomnia!

 4. Why toilet snakes?

Imagine this: its one o’clock in the morning, you wake up and crawl out of bed, trudge through the dark and into the bathroom. You sit down on the toilet, half sleeping… and then a snake bites you! On your butt! Ack!!!  Always look before you sit. It’s a rule!!! Never get caught with a snake on your bum. It could happen. But it won’t happen to me, because I look before I sit. Yes, even in the middle of the night.

 5. Werewolves. How often do you have to groom them?

That’s the beauty of a werewolf. Sometimes they are hairy and other times they are hot men. Wait – not just hot – Hawt. Yup, gotta exaggerate that hawwt. Uh –huh. Anyway, when they get shaggy looking you can just either make them morph into their human selves or send them to the groomer. Or perhaps they can just run off into the woods and scratch themselves against a tree. Either way they are great for cold winter nights….

.

 JAC: <bafflement. Fleas?>

 .

6. Brussel sprouts – why?

As in why would anyone eat them?? I don’t like them. I’ve tried to cook them, bake them, season them. They are gross. They taste like mini cabbages (which isn’t that what they are?) and cabbage is gross too. Sorry to all you cabbage lovers out there!

JAC:
Thanks to Cambria for answering those questions,even if the whole werewolf / fleaing thing is a bit of a worry….. So here are those links again in case you missed them!

Cambria Hebert
Didn’t get enough? Check me out on Tuesday nights at 9pm (EST)
 BEFORE – by Cambria Hebert
 Details:
Cover of short story by Cambria Hebert

What if your life was charmed and everything in it was perfect…

Before.

This is the story of my past. Of what things were like for me when everything was normal. Of what every teenager’s life is like. Clothes. Parties. Boys and summer vacation. What’s so wrong with that? I liked it. I was happy.

Until things changed. I changed.

I didn’t know that lies and secrets were about to take over my existence. I didn’t know there was someone out there, someone meant just for me. I didn’t know that I was about to go on a journey, a journey that would lead me to the girl I am today.

This is the beginning of the worst year of my life. Would I go back and change things? Erase everything that has happened to go back into these moments?

Not a chance.

This is a story of before.

= = = = = = = = =
So once again thanks to Cambria for her fab interview, and best of luck with the exciting multiple releases over Christmas! And remember, kids, when she’s at the top of the NYT Bestsellers list – you saw her here first!
In the weeks to come – a guest-blog from CS Splitter, author of The Reluctant with hopefully some details about his new release The Willing, due out 21st November…. and a couple of other treats queued up between now and Christmas, so keep an eye on this space! And you never know, it’s just possible that I might have a new release in the On Dark Shores series for you before the end of the year….here’s hoping!
Upon which note I shall get back to my edits and leave you lovely lot to go look at Cambria’s websites (go on! I didn’t put all those links in for nothing!) Have a great week, peeps – and  when you’ve read Before, and indeed all the rest, don’t forget to leave a review!
Catch you later;
JAC

Christmas Lites Charity Anthology from Creative Reviews

 

Look, not only do we have a new cover for Christmas Lites!

If you have not been paying attention so far, this is the new short story anthology including 26 stories from of the Creative Reviews group – it’s going to be great fun, including at the last roundup Santa, zombies, ghosts, a living snowmaiden and a ninja elf…! Furthermore, all proceeds will go the the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, so it’s all in a good cause. If anyone is up for helping us with a bit of publicity, please get in touch either here or on the Creative Reviews group, as we’d really like to raise a bit of money for the charity at Christmas.

More as we get it but there is a bit more info on Cambria’s blog here:

http://theunlockeddiary.blogspot.com/

and a bit more about the NCADV here on Jenn’s blog:

http://www.indiesupporter.com/

And both of them have the trailer all ready to be watched as well, so do check that out – ninja elves – how can you resist?!

A blog with author Cambria Hebert later in the week so do watch this space – and please, if anyone is up for spreading the word about the anthology, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks all – as always you are stars!!

JAC

 

Dear all:

Here for your delectation is a fantastic guestpost courtesy of Lee Sinclair, humorist, founder of The Secret Bookclub on Goodreads (don’t tell anyone I told you about it) and many other entertainments (some listed below). She has been in conversation with Em, star of The Book of Blognots, Not Blogs who has kindly passed on a Halloween anecdote for your perusal. So I leave you in the capable hands of Lee Sinclair as Em regales you with:

My Encounter With The Undead
A blog post by em

I don’t usually go around talking to the undead. I may be crazy, but I’m not THAT crazy. I already have plenty of problems without looking for more. If you’ve read the book that my blogging dog, Big M, and I wrote, you’re aware of the extent of my problems. If you haven’t read it, don’t bother. There’s no useful information in it. Not only do I not have normal problems that normal people have, but I haven’t managed to solve any of them. The best I can do is to ignore them until they go away on their own. And that hardly ever works. Most of my problems insist on sticking around no matter how much effort I put into ignoring them.

Anyway, the other day, my sister asked me about zombies. She has recently been reading books about them and had some questions. Since I know nothing about zombies, I couldn’t help her. But wouldn’t you know, a few days after that, I saw one walking down the street, all bundled up against the chilly fall weather. (Isn’t that the way it always happens? Someone mentions a person or thing, and suddenly you’re seeing them everywhere.) At the time, it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. So I rushed over and began grilling him.

But it turned out it wasn’t an overdressed zombie, after all. It was a mummy. Like I said, I really don’t know anything about zombies, so it’s not surprising I couldn’t tell the difference. Still, who better to answer questions about the undead than a member of the undead. Or so I thought. Although he was perfectly willing to talk to me, his whole conversation was nothing more than a string of curses. I never have figured out how to deal with those who indiscriminately spew bad language. So the mummy’s curses made me feel more and more uncomfortable. I was almost ready to give up my quest for answers when I noticed he had a loose thread hanging off him. And it was just plain bad luck I didn’t have a pair of scissors with me that day.

All I can say in my defense is I was only trying to be helpful. Who knew there was nothing underneath all those wrappings? Mind you, that may not be true for ALL mummies, but it was for this one. Now I feel a little bit like a murderess, although I’m not sure I actually killed him. He just sort of disappeared, leaving behind a pile of stained and smelly cloth. And technically, I don’t think you can kill someone who is already dead. Legally, you can’t be tried for the same crime twice, but I don’t believe there are any laws addressing this particular situation.

Regardless, I still feel really bad about what I did, whatever it was. So if anyone happens to see a naked, invisible mummy, please pass on my sincere apologies to him.

* * * * *

Author & Book Info

I don’t really have a bio because I think of myself as a writer, not an author. Perhaps if I publish several books, I’ll become more accustomed to talking about myself in the third person. Not only that, I don’t live in some evocatively named city with 1 husband, 2 children, and 3 pets. Instead, I’m moldering away in the Northwestern United States because I’m one of those people who like rain and moss. I’m also seriously hampered by my lack of dexterity, so I can’t impress anyone with a list of fascinating skills or hobbies. Besides, those things tend to create clutter, and I’m trying to get rid of my clutter, not add to it. I used to do some gardening, which is a popular author pastime, but to be honest, I was never very good at it and found it to be a lot of work. A final note about myself, I’m only half as crazy as the crazy little old lady in my book.

Providing a description of my book is equally challenging. Try to imagine this: Take Bridget Jones’s Diary and Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints and stick them in a commercial grade blender. Add a dozen noncontiguous pages from Pride and Prejudice and a random page from a dozen different self-help books. Throw in a few columns each from Dave Berry, Ann Landers, and Isaac Asimov. Season with an excessive amount of puns. Then run the blender for about an hour. The resulting mess will be surprisingly similar to my book.

Book of Blognots, Not Blogs by Lee Sinclair

 

 ◊ An irrepressible, reborn spinster who embraces life and technology in her own unique way

 

◊ A blogging dog who tries to explain things he doesn’t understand

 

◊ And a story you’re not going to believe

Links:

Amazon Listing:  Book of Blognots, Not Blogs
Website: www.sinclairstories.com

Group Blog: Boomers and Books

So many thanks go to Lee and Em there – and to the rest of you – have a great Halloween – and if you see a Mummy on the street, you know what to do!!
Take care, all, and watch this space for an interview with Cambria Hebert, author of imminent release “Maskerade” – one for all you paranormal fans out there. More in a week or so!
JAC

Hi all – just a quickie in case any of you missed Barbara Silkstone’s guest-blog on the differences between marketing in the UK and the US, with reference to various indie authors including Ali Cooper, Sibel Hodge and myself, among others…

Check it out at http://markwilliamsinternational.com/2011/07/10/swimming-the-atlantic-naked-barbara-silkstone-investigates/

and do leave a comment if you have a view!

JAC

 

Hey all:

Just a brief blog – check out

The Smashwords Top Ten Bestsellers in Epic Fantasy List

This morning I found that ‘On Dark Shores: The Lady’ was up at no. 8, which was very exciting – so I came back to it this evening and would you believe that it’s up to 7th place?

I suspect that this is mostly because it’s free at the moment and I went in to put the price back up to 50% off – but I might leave it another day now, and see if it goes up any higher….

HOW cool is that though?! Exceedingly chuffed!

And as always, if anyone would be prepared to RT on Twitter or Facebook, I’d really appreciate that.

Thanks for your support, all – you know I wouldn’t have got this far without you.

JAC