Tag Archive: humour


Dear all:

More news from Weasel Green Press – my running mate Dulcie Feenan has offered 3 copies of her new paperback “Christmas comes to Oddleton” for a giveaway on Goodreads here:

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/44535-christmas-comes-to-oddleton

If anyone wants to enter for the chance to win one, please do! Another cover by the tremendously talented Regina Wamba of Mae I Design, Weasel Green’s favourite cover artist, and if you can read the blurb and not be intrigued, you’ve never experienced the chaos that is a school play…

Best of luck all!

JAC

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Dear all:

It’s been a bit quiet round here lately, hasn’t it? Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you all (nor have I stopped writing, for that matter) but I have started a new job whilst attempting to move house so time has been in pretty short supply.

Things are likely to remain that way for another couple of months yet. As you know, I’ve just had to cut 70k words from Book 3 (OUCH!!) but they will be appearing as a separate in the Parallels series probably some time round Easter or thereabouts, and further on there will also be a long-ago prequel, set some 2700 years before “On Dark Shores”. But in the meantime Book 3 is trickling on slowly; looking forward to getting a bit more time to work on that once the house stuff has settled down a bit!

In the meantime, however,  here are a couple of links you might enjoy, to other books and writers associated with WGP as well a a short or two of my own. In particular, please have a look at the Christmas Lites anthologies as all profits from these go to the anti-domestic violence charity NCADV.  Let’s try and pass on a little help where we can.

Upon which note I will quit rambling and merely point you in the directions of some other entertaining literature, ALL of which which I have personally read and enjoyed.

Christmas Lites 1

Christmas Lites 2

Sprig of Holly

Christmas comes to Oddleton by WGP colleague Dulcie Feenan

Work Wife Balance by WGP colleague Jo Edwards

Have a superb Christmas, peeps, and an excellent New Year, and as soon as I have unpacked the furniture upon which to sit while typing, I’ll drop by again and give you the latest update…

All the best:

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 have we got a treat for you!

Today’s guest post is courtesy of the lovely MT McGuire (and the Ely Marrow). Author of humorous fantasy Few Are Chosen (which I’ve read and did enjoy) she has come on the blog to show off her shiny new cover – look further down the page and admire the Dangermouse-ness thereof!

Writer, mother of a 2-yr-old, driver of a shiny Lotus and inventor of the flying snurd, she has shared with us the following wisdoms for your delectation…

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 Name: M T McGuire

 One-sentence biog: M T McGuire is 43 years old but still checks inside unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia.

Blog  Facebook Twitter: @MTMcGuireAuthor

Author of: Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Trilogy 1

Genre/s: Humorous fantasy, if you have to pin me down but don’t ask me to tell you an age group or I may have to kill you. It’s aimed at a type of person and a mind set.

Available from:

E Book: Amazon UK:    Amazon US:   Smashwords:    Barnes & Noble:

Paperback:  Amazon UK   Amazon US   Barnes & Noble   The Book Depository or get a signed copy from www.hamgee.co.uk

One-sentence summary:
OK, I can’t do the book but I can do the trilogy, which goes like this: A cowards falls in love and thinking with his trousers sets out to win the girl, if he wants her he’ll have to save the world… but can he?

When you write, do you have a routine or habit?
No, I have an addiction. Writing, for me, is like a bad crack habit. If I don’t manage to write a certain amount each week I go a teeny bit mental. More than a teeny bit as McOther and McMini will probably attest.

What kicks off the book – a character, a situation, a plot-point?
Usually music. I will be listening to a song when I’ll see something in my head and think, ‘ooo that looks interesting’ and take it from there.

How much do you know in advance?
The beginning, a couple of emotional flashpoints or moments of extreme violence, a bit of conversation and the end.

Do you write character notes or background information?
Nah it’s bad enough having it all banging around in my head without trying to write it all down. If I had time to do more than the bare minimum pukkha writing I might.

Do you do research and how?
I try to establish parameters and rules which the plot, the science and the world I’ve created must stick to.

Do your characters do as you intend or do they tend to run away with the plot?
Oh they run away. Completely. The Pan of Hamgee, the male lead in the K’Barthan Trilogy was a bit character originally. Someone for another character to have an amusing conversation with in gaol. The minute I typed his name, he took over. I don’t think I’m the only writer this happens to.

Do you have clear visuals of places or characters?
Very but it’s not always easy to describe. The pictures on my website of my characters are exactly how they are in my head (only badly drawn).

When you have writer’s block, what do you do?
Draw the characters, market my previous book, or write something else, even if it’s just long tracts about how I can’t write.

Are you indie or trad-pubbed?
Indie.

What made you go that route and why?
To be trad pubbed it needs to be immediately obvious how my work could be marketed and what box it fits into. It’s clearly commercial but it doesn’t obviously fit in a box. Also I need to find an agent. I did try for a year after finishing Few Are Chosen during which time I managed to get polite ‘no’s’ from 5 of them. I do appreciate they’re busy and I can imagine the pressure they are under but I’m 43 now and I decided that I would quite like to see my work in print before I die. So I published it myself.

How long since you published your first book?
A year and a bit. K’Barthan 2 is due out next spring. Thank you everyone for waiting patiently. Writing and looking after a toddler does not make for a quick sequel.

Is there anything you wish you had known before you started?
The above. Oh and make your first book stand alone. Only start with a series if you are a complete nutter.

If you were starting from scratch today, is there anything you would do differently?
Pretty much everything although I’m happy enough with the way it’s turned out.

What is the most important thing for you about having your book published?
That when I have bludgeoned people into it – usually at gunpoint – nearly everyone who has read it likes it. I find this slightly amazing and I am waiting until the moment when the bubble bursts and I get covered in soap!

What are your views on self-publishing?

I think it’s brilliant.

From where I sit, it looks as if the publishing industry has trouble investing in new talent. Long ago, in a galaxy far away, I worked in an industry which comprised many small companies, much the way publishing used to be. However, the many small companies were gradually bought up by five or six big ones, much the way publishing has been. Having experienced working in that model, I can imagine what goes on. In my field a product which was considered a money spinner for a small company suddenly became a loss maker when we were part of a group. As a big group, we had higher overheads and costs so our products had to make a consistent 30% of operating profit to break even. Some of our products made 5% or 10% and they were binned or the rights sold off. I can’t help wondering if this has happened in publishing. I’m guessing that if it is, it might explain why nothing seems to be countenanced in publishing unless it’s a sure fire monster bank.

On the upside. I guess that means something has to come out of the woodwork which can and will make those lower margin, niche-but-profitable books pay. Enter indie and self publishing. No-one in the industry is ever going to take a punt on my book but maybe, if I can build up a readership and a following, they will. And, if, after that, I am not the next J K Rowling, at least my books will be out there. Money is lovely (mwah ha ha haargh) but this is, essentially, about reaching people who will enjoy my books. If they do I don’t mind if there aren’t that many of them.

What are your views on e-books?
I think they’re excellent. They have no shelf life and they allow people like me, who have written a slightly weird book, to reach people who might enjoy reading it directly. And those people are there, just not in big enough quantities to appeal to a publisher.

Also let me just say how much I love e-ink. Please god let them make it in colour, so it’s like a computer screen only not. It’s saving me a fortune in paper and electricity charging stupid batteries because unlike reading on screen, it gives me that sense of removal required for editing.

E ink. Colour. Soon. With touch screen. Go on lovely techies. Kissy kissy. Please…

Do you have/are you considering getting an e-reader? which?
Yes I do. I have a Kindle, because I’m a sheep.
No-no, I’m not a sheep, honest. Actually, I didn’t think I would possibly find a use for a kindle but McOther wanted to buy me something for my birthday and he offered.. Round about that time, it occurred to me that if I write e-books it might be smart if I had a vague idea how they looked on an e-reader.

Now I have it I am delighted with it. Not only do I read more but I have access to lots of books I have absolutely loved which I’d never have been able to read without it. Indeed, I read one book in 2010 (I’m a stay at home parent with a toddler so time and head space can be thin on the ground). I bought an e-book reader in June 2011 and I’ve read about 15 books since. Not much, I agree but a hell of a lot more than I was reading before.

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

Yes, yes and yes.
Seriously, get your work proof read by a professional and don’t get it done on paper because if you do you’ll put a whole new raft of mistakes in when you do the alts. Get it done by someone who will correct the document. Blindingly obvious that but publishing gold and yes, despite a 12 year career producing print, it’s a nugget I missed entirely.

If you know a decent designer, get them to do the cover and think hard about what you want first. It took me about a year to realise what I wanted. Once I did, I discussed it with the designer and get something that was close but would also work commercially. They did a fantastic job. A Trouble Halved in Stratford-upon-Avon if you are interested.

What do you do to market your book?
Not nearly enough! Mwah ha ha haargh. Actually, I think it’s a good idea to have something out there free, more than a sample, a story. In my case I have some very bad shorts which I don’t know what to do with and a prequel to the K’Barthan Trilogy called Unlucky Dip. Don’t be daunted by conversion rates though. I reckon freebies work like a mailshot so about one in every hundred will buy something. That said, there are lots and lots of freebie sites so, in theory, you can get that hundred readers several times over.

Are you on any social media? Which do you prefer?
I’m on Facebook  and Twitter ( @mtmcguireauthor ). I also visit forums; kindleboards, mobilereads, amazon.co.uk, goodreads and the like.

What has proved your most successful marketing method so far?
Interviews, reviews and posts like this.

Have you read and enjoyed any other indie authors?
Mmm hmm.

Who? JA Clement, naturally, (JAC: clearly a woman of taste!) Danny Gillan, Lexi Revellian, Ali Cooper, Melanie Dark, Joyce De Bacco and I have a whole truck load in my to be read folder which I haven’t yet done.

Have you any tips for other authors?
If you’re self publishing, think about the basic stuff. Trust me, in my real world job I produced reams of print in a year and I assumed I would not be at home to Mr Cock-up. Unfortunately, when I produced my book, Mr Cock-up, his family and most of his relations took over my guest room for some weeks. There is a lot of really, really obvious stuff that I missed. Here’s a purler; when Few Are Chosen came out I didn’t actually say anywhere on the cover that it was part one of a trilogy. How stupid was that? Naturally, a few people complained about the end being a bit abrupt.

(JAC: Yes, well easy mistake to make, sure lots of people have done that. Er…well at least one person in the vicinity has done that!)

Are there any resources you have found really useful?
Yeh, Simon Royle’s indieview site.

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So there you have it, peeps!

MTM’s book is worth the reading, and you should all go have a look at it – and of course there is the short story Unlucky Dip if you just want to start with a small snippet.

So, in the run-up to Christmas what else can we expect? Next week we have a guest blog from Lexi Revellian, author of Remix, Replica and a new fantasy series starting with Torbrek and the Dragon Variation.

In Christmas week I’ll be writing my own Christmas post – and if you have any requests for that, leave a comment or message me on Goodreads!

And in January I will be bringing you assorted posts from other authors along with (I hope) a new release or so of my own.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to the mailing list (if you’re looking at this on https://jaclement.wordpress.com you’ll see the nice shiny “Get the gossip” button over to the right) then please do so, as apart from anything else I’ll be mailing out a discount code for Book 2 to anyone on the mailing list – and there may be advance review copies going, you never know….

In the interim though, have a good weekend, and if you have any questions for MTM or myself, please comment below!

See you next week:

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