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Raising Good Stock – A Writer and His Books.

Hello Readers,

I thought it would be timely to give you all an update on what I’ve been up to. Well, late last year, I decided to send 4 of my little darlings off to my editor, Geneve Flynn, in the hope she would whip them into shape. So I packed them up and shipped them off.

Blood and Fear – A short fantasy story and Part 1 of the ‘Blood Rage’ Trilogy
The Crimson Guild – A fantasy novella and Part 2 of the ‘Blood Rage’ Trilogy
Blood Rage – A fantasy novel and Part 3 of the ‘Blood Rage’ Trilogy
Making Magic – A short fantasy/horror story

While they were away, I took a little break from all-things-writing to enjoy a peaceful Christmas without them. But I have to admit, I started to miss the little buggers. I needn’t have worried about them, my babies came back before the new year began – and what a great job my editor has done!

I’ve already worked through the edits on 3 of them and I’m about half way through Blood Rage. Now that they have matured and grown a little,  I need to prepare them for the cut-throat world that awaits them. I need to dress them up in nice covers, format them for publishing, and introduce them to all you lovely readers out there. And I’m getting close. Pretty soon they will be ready to move out and find a new home.

If you are considering snuggling up to a new book at night, adopting one of these poor, lonely little stories, or looking for a new world to escape to, then why not put them on your ‘To be read’ list. Interested? click here to receive an e-mail update when each one is ready to leave home.

Book Review: Ground Rules for Writers

Ground Rules for Writers: A QUICK AND EASY REFERENCE GUIDE FOR ALL THE PAINFUL PUNCTUATION, GHASTLY GRAMMAR, AND PESKY SOUND ALIKE WORDS, FRACKING UP YOUR ... (Your Easy Writing Reference Series Book 1)Ground Rules for Writers: A QUICK AND EASY REFERENCE GUIDE FOR ALL THE PAINFUL PUNCTUATION, GHASTLY GRAMMAR, AND PESKY SOUND ALIKE WORDS, FRACKING UP YOUR … by Susan Ball

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ground Rules for Writers by Susan Ball and Sheryl Wright is a quick and easy reference guide for writers on commonly confused words and the rules of writing. English is a second language.

The Bad Stuff: If your native language is English and you had a decent education, you are likely to know a lot of the information in this book.

The Good Stuff: Even with English being my native language I found this book useful. I do not recall being taught half this information in my English class at school, but that might be because I was more interested in chatting to the girls; maybe I should have paid more attention.

I almost didn’t download this book, thinking it would not be much use. I was wrong, and I’m so glad I did download it. Considering this came up as a freebie on Amazon when I was browsing for another title, it was well worth it. In my opinion, the information within this book is good and unless you have studied English in depth, there is something in this book that will be useful to you. It will be especially useful if English is not your native tongue or if you had low results in English and are looking to improve. I’m giving this a pleasantly surprising 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

Indie Book Showcase – Don’t Be The One Missing Out.

2017 Indie Books We Love Author Showcase

There are some great independent books available to readers these days. Are you looking for something new to read in 2017? Why not check out the range of great indie titles at:

http://events.supportindieauthors.com/

 

Another year gone and what have I done?

 

Image by Darren Tunnicliff

Image by Darren Tunnicliff

Hello readers,

Now that Christmas is out the way and another year is almost over, I thought I would take some time to reflect on what I have done over the past 12 months. When I think about it, it has been quite a big year for me as an author. I feel like I have worked hard and have seen progress and I’m confident that I’m on the way to achieving my dreams.

  • I continue to attend Vision Writers’ Group where I get to network with some amazing authors and learn new things,
  • I also joined a second writers’ group  known as Loganholme Writers’ group. This has been a great opportunity for me to see the differences between writers’ groups and I have certainly grown as a writer because of the differences/diversity,
  • I obtained an ABN (Australian Business Number),
  • I obtained an EIN (Employer Identification Number), which it turns out I didn’t really need at this point in time,
  • I’ve set up a P.O. Box,
  • I established a Kindle Direct Publishing Account,
  • I set up an Author page on Amazon’s Author Central,
  • I set myself up on CreateSpace so I can publish print copies of my book and make them available on Amazon,
  • I have set myself up on Draft2Digital, a site that allows me to self publish on a variety of platforms,
  • I’ve obtained a Mail Chimp account and created a sign up form with a free give-away of the anthology ’18’ to help build a mailing list (so I can email my readers when I release a new book),
  • I’ve been a lot more active on Goodreads as I try to learn more, review books and increase my audience,
  • I’ve read 21 books over the year, a combination of fiction and non-fiction books on writing, in order to improve my skills,
  • I’ve created a marketing plan for a series of short stories and a fantasy trilogy.
  • I have had 4 stories professionally edited (I’m currently going through the edits in preparation for publishing),
  • I found out that the way I had previously learnt to format my manuscripts in word for converting to e-book was not the best way to do so.
  • In light of the previous bullet-point, I’ve now taught myself how to format e-books in HTML for publishing and convert them to MOBI, PDF and EPUB,
  • I’ve also taught myself how to format print books for publishing,
  • I have written blurbs for 2 books in preparation for publishing,
  • I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to create my own book covers,
  • I have bookmarked numerous Pre-Made book cover sites (and purchased suitable covers in preparation for publishing),
  • I’ve uploaded files to Amazon, CreateSpace and Draft2Digital,
  • I have self published ‘Low Life’ and ‘Darkness In Shadows’ as stand alone short stories,
  • I’ve linked my books to my author profile on Author Central,
  • I’ve linked my books to my author profile on Goodreads,
  • I have created a spreadsheet to store the publication data,
  • I’ve created a spreadsheet to keep track of my expenses and earnings,
  • I have updated my publications page on this blog site.
  • I sold my first self published book – YAY! (and a massive thank you to those of you who have purchased any of my books),
  • I have also managed to obtain a few reviews for my short stories (thankfully all positive so far), which is amazing as these reviews really make a difference to the discoverability of an author (so another massive thank you to those that have left a review, either on Goodreads, Amazon or anywhere else).
  • ‘Darkness In Shadows’ was published in the anthology Darkest Depths,

Wow! what a year it has been. I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to you, my readers, who have made it all worth while. I hope next year is just as productive for me and that you’ll continue to support me by following my blog, reading my books and leaving reviews. I wish you all the best for a fantastic New Year!

Free e-book – Darkest Depths

darkest-depths-ebook-large

Happy Festive Season! In the spirit of Christmas, I have a give-away offer for you. That’s right, you can get a FREE copy of the new anthology ‘Darkest Depths’ containing my story ‘Darkness In Shadows’ (you can also get ‘Low Life’, another of my stories, FREE in the anthology ’18’ if you sign up to my mailing list).

Darkness in Shadows is a short horror story about a top secret machine that has a dark effect when it’s turned on. The anthology ‘Darkest Depths’ is packed full of short stories by up and coming Australian authors. You can get your FREE copy of  Darkest Depths from Amazon between the 25/12/16 to 28/12/16 (Please note, this give-away runs under Amazon’s U.S. time Zone).

Merry Christmas and enjoy!

 

Challenge Yourself – Guest Post by Geneve Flynn

Hell's Bells: Stories of Festive Fear by members of the Australian Horror Writers Association by [Members, Australian Horror Writers Association, Livings, Martin, Huntman, Gerry, Schembri, David, Nahrung, Jason, Baxter, Alan, Rutkay, Bernie, Chapman, Greg, Smith-Briggs, Mark, Trost, Cameron, Neil C. Cladingboel]

Challenge Yourself

Feeling a little jaded as the end of the year approaches? Sitting down at your keyboard, only to find your writing flow has turned into a struggle akin to dragging yourself across shag carpet wearing a corduroy suit?

I have a solution.

As a writer, there is a temptation to limit your work to things you’re familiar with; after all, we’re often told: write what you know.

But stepping outside your comfort zone can be a great way to revitalise your writing practice and stretch your writing muscles. Who knows? You might discover something new about yourself and give your brain the kickstart it needs.

The Australian Horror Writers Association recently put out a call for flash fiction for their forthcoming anthology, Hell’s Bells.

The requirements were simple enough: a 500 word Christmas ghost story with a submission period of a mere sixteen days.

I’d written short fiction before, but never anything that short. Submitting to the AHWA has always been one of my goals, so I thought, why not?

Imagine my surprise when the characters muscled past me onto the page, demanding to tell their story. In 500 words and two days’ writing, I had a lovely little tale of horror, pitting a malicious grandmother against a formidable Santa Claus.

To my delight, Grandmother Rina was accepted and features alongside a list of work by authors that reads like a who’s who of Australian horror; and I’m reminded once again what a vibrant writing community we have. Just what I needed to carry me through to the end of the year and onwards to 2017.

So, take a chance. Try something new. You never know what could happen.

How do you kickstart your writing practice?

If you’d like to read some creepy Christmas fiction, check out Hell’s Bells on this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRYJM3F

Looking for somewhere to submit your fiction? Maybe this is for you.

clarkesworld-banner

Clarkesworld Magazine is a Hugo, World Fantasy, and British Fantasy Award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine that publishes short stories, interviews, articles and audio fiction. Issues are published monthly and available on our website, for purchase in ebook format, and via electronic subscription. All original fiction is also published in our trade paperback series from Wyrm Publishing. We are currently open for art, non-fiction and short story submissions.

Fiction Guidelines

Word Limit: 1000-16000 words, no exceptions
Pay Rate: 10¢ per word for the first 5000 words, 8¢ for each word over 5000
Genres: Science fiction and fantasy
Language: English (We accept stories from all over the world. Translations are welcome.)
Rights: We claim first world electronic rights (text and audio), first print rights (author must be willing to sign copies), and non-exclusive anthology rights for our annual Clarkesworld anthology. If you are unfamiliar with the term “First Rights,” an explanation can be found here.

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/submissions/

They’re back! Now how do I chop and change them?

Picture by IMG_0859

Picture by IMG_0859

Alright… It’s happened! I got all 4 of my stories back from my editor last week. 2 Short stories, a novella and my novel. Now the pain begins. This is the part where I have to decide what changes to accept and what to decline. What suggestions to take on board and use to rework my story and make it better. What suggestions to omit because they don’t align with my style and the way I want my story to unfold.

If you think getting someone to do your editing will fix all your problems, think again. Yes, the copy edits are easy. They are mostly simple grammar corrections, word changes, etc… and you accept or decline them and move on. But the structural edit is a different beast altogether. While an editor can give you a structural report detailing what they think you need to do to improve your story, they are not there to do the work for you. They are there to guide you with your writing. You still need to consider the advice given and rewrite where required. And I have a lot to consider, so I guess I had better make a start on it.

To my readers that are waiting on the next story to be released, I apologize. I had hoped to have at least 1 out before Christmas, but it’s looking like it won’t happen until the New Year now. The good news is that I have 4 stories that are nearly ready. So keep your eyes open for my new releases coming soon, or sign up to my mailing list and I will let you know when they are released.

Until then, I hope Santa brings you a great book. Happy reading.

Book Review – 5 Secrets of Story Structure by KM Weiland

5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 6)5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out by K.M. Weiland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
5 Secrets of Story Structure by KM Weiland covers off on the fundamentals of structuring a novel.
The Bad Stuff: If there is any bad advice in this book I couldn’t find it. My only qualm would be with the term ‘plot points’. In my opinion this term was a little vague and did not fit, but this is only my opinion and it is a minor thing considering the value of the content in this book.

The Good Stuff: This book is well presented and provides the formula for writing a good story in an easy to understand way. The content is very similar to Planning Your Novel by Janice Hardy, but presented in a slightly different format. From memory, I paid around $16.00 for the Janice Hardy book and I have no regrets, but this book by KM Weiland was free on Amazon and is just as insightful. Excellent value and a great book for anyone who needs to gain a better understanding of story structure.

This book will be of great use to those starting out with their writing and anyone who struggles with story structure. It will teach you the fundamentals of the structure required to write a good story in an easy to understand, tried and tested way. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews