18 The Anthology – Get your free e-copy

18 Anthology

On one of my recent posts I mentioned that my Writers’ group – Vision Writers’, were producing an anthology. Well, I am happy to announce that ’18’ is here! Woohoo, I hear you all shouting. And believe me, I am just as excited as you are. The anthology celebrates 18 years of Brisbane based writers’ group – Vision Writers’. The group has a number of published members, including our founders Marian De Pierres and Rowena Corey Daniels. Vision Writers’ has a variety of characters from all walks of life, and as a member of the group you’re sure to get honest and invaluable feedback on any stories you submit for critique. I have learned a great deal from this fantastic Medley of Sci fi, Fantasy and Horror Authors. 18 Showcases the talents of some of our current authors with thirteen stories to lose yourselves in. The anthology covers tales of Wizards, Dragon’s, Spirits, Mobsters and much more. These stories will take you to new worlds; worlds of fantasy and worlds of horror. Thanks to all who helped put this anthology together: Trahern, Belinda, Talitha, Meghann, and all the other writers involved. 18 is available as an E book for free on various sites, check out my ‘Publications’ page for details.

So, enjoy and once you’ve sated your reading appetite, please post a review or let me know what you think via comment on this blog post.

How different are you from the next person?

Picture by angus mcdiarmid

Picture by angus mcdiarmid

It’s all too easy to assume that just because we think or feel a certain way, others will think or feel the same. This however is not the case and I think that we would be better equipped in our dealings with others if we were aware of this. Stick with me and I will show you where I am going with this. I attend a critique session once a month with my writers’ group. My daughter writes too and is also a member of the same writers’ group. We critique the submissions prior to the session and usually have a chat about them before hand. This month my girlfriend also read the submissions and the three of us had a long and interesting discussion about them. Funnily enough we all had differing opinions and interpreted the content of the stories in different ways.

Here is an example. One submission was about a man who had passed away. The whole story was done with internal monologue as the guy pieced together what was going on through his thoughts. My very basic understanding of the story was that the man had died in a car crash and was waiting for death to take him to hell. Now that is a very basic outline, I don’t want to give away the detail as it wasn’t my story and I haven’t asked the author if they are okay with me doing so, but I will say that in the detail was a really great concept. The problem I had however, was the way it was written. I felt the thoughts were not natural and that nobody talks that much in their head about all the things this guy was thinking about. So I gave it to my girlfriend to read and she loved it! I couldn’t understand how she had readily accepted the way this guy was thinking and piecing stuff together in his mind so I asked her, “Do you really talk to yourself like that in your head?” Much to my amazement she replied, “Actually, I do.” I couldn’t believe it, and we ended up having a long discussion about the differences in the way we think. My daughter was up next. She hated the story, not just because the way it was written, but also because of the characters unlikable personality.

To my next point, remember how I said I thought it was about a man who died and was going to hell? Well I got this vibe from the mean persona the character had, the bleak environment created by the world building and the sensory elements used within the story. My girlfriend on the other hand had a totally different idea. She figured that he had died and was going to a town for the dead. This was just one story and there were 3 others that we also had differences of opinion on.

What I took from this is that everyone is different. Not just in our appearances, but in our beliefs, our attitudes, the way we think, what we like and what we don’t like. As a writer it is important to know this and to understand it, whether you are targeting a certain audience or working out which comments are valid in a critique. There isn’t a one size fits all technique in writing, you can’t please everyone, so my advice is ‘stay true to yourself’.

Update On My Life As An Author (And Some Time Management Tips).

"Image courtesy of Gualberto 107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Gualberto 107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Hello ladies and gents, I thought it was about time I gave you all an update on what’s been happening in my world. To start with, I think I mentioned previously that I am in the process of building a new home. If you have not done this before, it usually starts when you find your land. Then you go through the process of getting a loan to buy it with enough to pay for the build on top. Then you choose your house design, pick the bricks, roof, tiles, fittings, colours, bench tops, doors, electrical, etc… That takes a while. Then you sit around waiting until the purchase goes through so the builder can start building and bang, things start moving along.

My new place should be ready in about 4 weeks. This presents another problem – I have had to do some minor repairs and redecorating to put my current home on the market. So now I have open house viewings, house tidying every other day, yard maintenance, etc… and once I get a buyer I will have to arrange for a solicitor, removals, power disconnection, Internet disconnection, reconnections at the new place, etc… I’m also still working at my full time job, which means I have to do all these things after hours or at the weekend and I also balance my time rotating one week with my fantastic lady and the next week doing my writing.

Forewarned is forearmed. Knowing I had all this to do and not wanting to lose momentum on my blogs, I took advantage of WordPress’ scheduling feature. I drafted a heap of blog posts and scheduled them for future dates. I also cheated a little on my blog content too, by using short quotes and reviews of books I have already read, so all I had to do was post the review. I’m still reading too, so I figure I might as well use it to my advantage in these busy times and blog a quick review once I finish each book.

I apologize if the content of my posts has not been great recently, but hopefully you are enjoying the reviews. By scheduling these posts, I have been able to continue to do all the above, attend my writers’ group, dabble in a new short story I am working on and still make time to edit my first novel ‘Blood Rage’ (based on the feedback from the Beta read). I’m also happy to say I have almost finished editing, and when I have completed the edit, I intend to send ‘Blood Rage’ out to a professional for copy editing. The editing process has taken me a lot longer than I anticipated, one reason is that this is my first novel and I have learnt so much since writing the first draft that I have re-written it over and over, but I do not want to release ‘Blood Rage’ until I’m happy with it. I still have to come up with my blurb for the back cover (which I will post when done) and some cover designs, and I’m hoping you will all help me out when I get to that stage, by voting on the cover you prefer.

I still have a fair bit of downtime with my house stuff going on, and I have run out of scheduled posts now. I will try to get a few more up over the weekend, but if I miss a post or two over the next month or so, you will know why. I fully intend to have ‘Blood Rage’ released this year, so I may have to make some sacrifices with my time, but I hope you will look back and think it is worth it when you finally get to read ‘Blood Rage’.

Book Review: Lifesphere Inc. Acquisition – Talitha Kalago

Acquisition (Lifesphere Inc, #1)Acquisition by Talitha Kalago

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eli has a dream, all he wants to do is escape the slums and get himself a Meka, but for Eli there is no easy path to success. He finds himself tangled in an unsavoury deal with a shady character that gives him hope – but there is always a cost.
Talitha Kalago does a great job of building a believable world for this YA Novel. Her characters have their own distinct personalities and her prose is well written and enjoyable. If I had to describe this to book, I would say it is akin to a futuristic Pokémon, set in a harsh, gritty world where the rich are rich, and the poor are cast out and forgotten.
Don’t let my 3 star rating fool you, I liked this book as an adult, if I had read it 20 years ago, I would have loved it.

View all my reviews

Reading books and giving an opinion, how hard can it be?

"Image courtesy of Keattikorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Keattikorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

I have started trying to write a few book reviews to add some extra content to my blog for my readers, but I lack experience in this field and don’t think I’m doing a great job of it. I didn’t think it would be too challenging at first, but I’m finding it a lot harder than I anticipated it to be. I think I may have to start researching ‘How to do a good book review’ on Google, and I may even need to start taking notes as I’m reading. I have read a few reviews on WordPress, but they are all very different, from formatting to content, and some seem to tell you the whole story, which is kind of a spoiler in my mind. So I’m putting this out there to my readers, how do you think a book review should be done? Is there a winning formula? I’d love to know because right now…I suck at it!

Book Review: Castle Of Wizardry – David Eddings

Castle of Wizardry (The Belgariad, #4)Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Positive: David Eddings writes a solid fantasy story with well developed characters in a well developed world. He tells a good story that will pull many readers in, even if they do not enjoy the style of writing.

The Negative: The writing style can have a tendency to tell rather than show. I have a personal dislike of strange spelling for names eg.’Ctuchik’. This held me back from immersing myself into the book at the initial stages, but I got over it as I read on.

Overall: I enjoyed this book, David Eddings makes good use of his vocabulary in the novel and in my opinion, despite the tendency to tell, this book is still a thoroughly enjoyable read.

View all my reviews

Writers, what would you do with good value?

Image by Jcrakow

Image by Jcrakow

I thought I should try and come up with a blog that adds some value to my readers that write, so here it is.

I received a newsletter from a site I subscribe to recently, I’ve mentioned this site before, but I feel it warrants another shout out as I get good value from it and feel I should spread the word as a kind of thank you. It is Joanna Penn’s – ‘The Creative Penn’ and can be found here. In the newsletter was a promo for a free e-book by Chandler Bolt called ‘Book Launch’. So I thought, it’s free, why not, I may learn something? I downloaded the book and found there is also a free Audio book of the same title, score! I thought and promptly downloaded that too. And I have to say that it was well worth it. The book has a great deal of info packed into it, most of which I already knew, but it has taken me a good year of trawling through the net and reading up to learn it, and here it is all in one book. There were also a few golden nuggets that I was not aware of.

If you are a new author looking to self publish, I think you will find this book a great asset. If you are not so new, I still believe it is worth downloading for the one or two new things you may learn from it. You can find the download here. I would like to mention that I have no affiliation to Joanna or Chandler, other than the fact that I subscribe to them both. I just thought you may find this information useful