18 The Anthology – Get your free e-copy

18 Anthology18-diagonally

 

 

 

 

 

18

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.

What Are You Looking For In A Book?

Picture by Emilio Nanni

Picture by Emilio Nanni – Creative commons Licence at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode

Hello again, my blog posts are taking a back seat at the moment, but I thought I should take a bit of time to write one up and let you all know I’m still here, just busy with other stuff at the moment. Anyway, I’m waffling, so let’s get on with it.

I am currently reading Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Before They Are Hanged’, and I have to admit, I’m loving Joe’s work at the moment. Every one of his novels I’ve read so far, have stood high above any other fantasy I have read. I love his style, the gritty, no holds barred, bare your teeth and snarl at anyone that doesn’t like it, writing. To me, his prose is impressive and his stories are unique. There may be other books out there that are similar, but I haven’t read them, and I’m lapping it up because these two elements make his work a truly enjoyable read.

This has led me wonder, what is it others seek from a good book? Is it originality? Is it Style? Is it the emotional journey you take when you follow a character through their journey? Is it all of the above? I’m very interested in knowing just what is it that makes a great book for you?

Thanks for reading my post and I hope to hear some of your thoughts on this.

Know much about adventure? I’ve just had a crash course.

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Hello again, I thought I would give you another update as I have just had two weeks off work. I spent the first week fine tuning the formatting I have done for the anthology my writers’ group are producing. I also got stuck into my novella and managed to get my first draft done – Woohoo! The second week I spent taking a break from both work and writing, heading over to New Zealand with the family for some adventure. And what an awesome time we had. In the five days we were there, we managed to visit an ice bar (a bar where everything is made of ice, including tables, chairs and glasses.),

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enjoy coffee at the boathouse,

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take a walk through Queenstown Gardens,

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enjoy a meal at Chicco’s, visit the cookie shop, take the gondola up a mountain, ride the luge, ride a ski lift, do a Zip Line tour, visit arrowtown,

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visit Milford Sound (beautiful)

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and do this:-

Ledge swing 9

Yep, that’s me swinging in mid-air and now I think I need another holiday to relax!

What was your last big adventure?

 

“It’s the questions we can’t answer …”

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear

Checking In.

Photo by elPadawan

A big hello to all my friends, readers, followers and the like. Yep, I know, I have been missing from my blog page for a while, but it’s okay, I haven’t been kidnapped by short dudes with brown cloaks or anyone else for that matter. What I have been doing is formatting the e–version of an anthology my writers’ group are putting together. It has been quite a learning curve for me as this is the first time I have created my own e–book. You may remember that some time ago I wrote a series of posts on the basics of how to create an e–book. Well, while I had a little mess around with the principles within that previous post—which all made sense to me and seemed to work just fine—I am now much the wiser. It seems the methods in that post will work, but may also present issues on some readers.

What have I learnt? I have learnt that HTML is much easier than I would have thought. If I were writing that post today, I would tell you that you need three programs, not two. They would be Word, Calibre and JEdit. But rather than have me, an amateur, new to formatting tell you how to produce an e–book. Why not get a Pro to tell you. That’s what I did. So the best piece of advice that I can give you if you want to learn how to format your own e–books is to purchase a copy of Guido Henkel’s ‘Zen of ebook formatting’. It has worked for me and you can check out the quality of my work after using Guido’s book as a guide, when Vision Writers’ latest Anthology ‘Darkest Depths’ is released in the near future. Oh, and the really good news is that we plan to make the anthology free.

Hang on, don’t go yet … I have more news. The other reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is that I have been concentrating on finishing my novella—one of the three books in my Blood Rage series. I have made great progress on this and am not far off finishing it. My dilemma now is that before I turned it into a series it was going to be one novel and I put some covers out to be voted. I had a winning cover and had every intention of using it for the novel. Only now I feel I need three covers that compliment each other for the series and I’m not sure the cover I have will be the right choice. I’m tossing up between getting two new covers done that work with the one I have, or getting someone to complete three new covers for the series. Anyway, I will ponder that when all the editing is finalized. But for now, you can look forward to my Blood Rage series being released this year. That is what I am committing to.

 

Book Review – The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blade Itself is a fantasy novel about … well, a host of characters and the parts they play in this tale of feuds, conspiracies, and wars. Set in a vicious world with well-established cultures and classes, magic and science, superstitions and beliefs.

The Bad Stuff: The only bad thing about this book is it comes to an end and leaves you wanting more.

The good stuff: This book has a full cast of characters from Logen Ninefingers, Bayaz and Jezal Dan Luthar, to Major Collem West, Sand dan Glokta, and Ferro. Their paths woven seamlessly into the story in a world where life is neither fun nor fair. The characters own their individual personalities, their individual traits and their individual problems, while war broods all around. Abercrombie weaves a tale of respected men who lie and scheme, barbarians who have honour and respect and strong women who kick some serious arse.

In my opinion, this is a superbly written fantasy novel with a mix of aristocratic society and down-in-the-gutter, bang-to-rights hard men. This action packed novel packs a punch and deserves a place on the shelf of any true fantasy fan. I’m giving it 5 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

Book Review – Zen of ebook Marketing by Guido Henkel

Zen of eBook MarketingZen of eBook Marketing by Guido Henkel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zen of eBook Marketing is written for writers who want to know how to market their eBooks. Written by author and programmer, Guido Henkel, this is the second book in his Zen series and provides a general overview on marketing ebooks.

The Bad Stuff: This book will give you a general overview of marketing techniques and the Social media available to market your books through, however it does not provide a detailed breakdown of how. If you are a seasoned writer that has been selling your books online, you will know most of the information within this book already.

The Good Stuff: This book gives a wide range of methods and provides a good deal of content around the differences in the social media available. There is a wealth of information between the pages and I certainly learnt a few things from reading the content. This would be an ideal book for someone starting out and will more than likely provide something new to the authors already well on their way to marketing their books. As with Zen of ebook formatting, this book is easy to read and understand and has some valuable tips inside.

This is another great addition to the toolbox of Indie writers. It will give you a better understanding and good insights on how to market your books. This one is worthy of receiving 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

Book Review – Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure by Janice Hardy

Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure (Foundations of Fiction #1)Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure by Janice Hardy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Planning Your Novel:Ideas and Structure, is a book for writers who want to learn more about planning. It will provide you with the knowledge you need to help you plan your novel.

The Bad Stuff: If you are an experienced writer, you will know most of the information within this book, however it may help to solidify the steps and technique used in planning and you may even pick up one or two new things.

The Good Stuff: If you are new to writing, I strongly recommend you read this book. It gives an in depth insight into how to plan and structure a novel, come up with ideas, write a synopsis and more. I wish I had read this book when I started out, it would have jump started my writing skills. While I knew a lot of the information between the pages, I have learnt from this book and it has helped me gain a better understanding of what I already knew. Janice Hardy shares the knowledge she has acquired over years of writing and explains it all in easy to understand terms.

For the value this book offers to new writers, I am giving this one 5 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

Book Review – Zen of eBook Formatting by Guido Henkel

Zen of eBook FormattingZen of eBook Formatting by Guido Henkel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Zen of eBook Formatting is a book for writers who want to know how to format and create eBooks. Written by Guido Henkel, a writer and an experienced programmer, for writers. This book provides a step by step guide on how to correctly format and produce your own eBooks.

The Bad Stuff: If you are just looking for a book that says do this, then do that, this book may frustrate you a little. There is a lot of explaining, but to be fair, it is of value to know ‘the why’ behind what you are doing. I think the book would benefit from a summary at the end, that details what you have learned in the book without all the explaining in between, and can be used as a quick reference guide.

The Good Stuff: This book gives you a great insight into how to format and create an eBook, from cleaning up your manuscript to adding the cover. Guido provides all the code and links to the tools you will need within the pages, making the process as simple as possible. I certainly recommend you read this book if you are looking at publishing your own eBooks online. I have definitely gained some knowledge in the process that I will be putting into practice in the future.

This is a great addition to the toolbox of Indie writers. It will save you time and effort, and could even prevent you damaging your brand name as an author, by giving you the advice you need to produce quality eBooks. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

Book Review: The Magician by Raymond E. Feist

Magician (The Riftwar Saga, #1-2)Magician by Raymond E. Feist

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Magician is an epic fantasy novel about the lives of Pug and those around him, their victories, their defeats, their friendships, oh… and there is magic.

The Bad Stuff: If I said I had just read a book with wizards, dwarves, elves, goblins and a mad king, what would you think of? Well, The Magician is not the title that most people would think of. There are a few similarities to another well read epic fantasy in this book, some over explaining and repetition, with a fair bit of telling in the writing style.

The good stuff: While The Magician bears some similarities to another Tolkien’s work, it is an epic tale in its own right. Feist has put an original spin on a plot that has been used before and has some well rounded characters. His world building is done well, creating different races and cultures in worlds far apart. The Magician has everything a great fantasy epic should have: magic, magical weapons and armour, dragons, elves, dwarves and more.

In my opinion, this is a great fantasy novel and is a much loved classic that deserves a space on the shelf of any true fantasy fan. This one gets 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks from me.

View all my reviews

Hectic Lives and Kicking Goals

Hello again, I know I haven’t been posting regularly like I used to. I’ve been busy working on my book, but I am making progress, hitting 16,500 words this weekend. Apologies for not keeping my online presence up, but it is so hard trying to juggle everything. In addition to the writing, I’ve been reading as part of a reading challenge I’ve set myself. I’ve also been reading up on plotting, seeking those little nuggets of advice that might help things click into place and help me to write better. I’ve also been trying to maintain a bit of a social life, going out for a meal with my sister to celebrate her birthday. On top of that, I’ve been doing some work around the garden and trying to organize a present for my better half, who’s birthday is next month – all while working full time.

Incidentally, work often provides me with some great tips for my writing. As a leader of a team, I often come across articles on team building and the like, and I am always looking at how I can apply these as an author. The latest article was about motivation, and I thought I would share this with you. The article explains that motivation consists of feedback, goals and rewards. Here is a summary:

Feedback: 

Positive feedback can increase confidence and commitment, motivating when you start your goals. i.e. “So, you’re writing a novel? That’s awesome, I’d love to read it when it’s done.”

Negative feedback emphasising a lack of progress when your nearing the end of something, can motivate you when you need a push. i.e. “You’ve written three quarters of your novel and now your just going to leave it in a box under your bed. What’s the deal with that? I really think you should plug away and get it finished.”

Goal Setting:

This one really works for me, it’s about breaking down a big task into small goals. i.e. I am going to write 200 words a day. It has to be something achievable in a short time, so you feel like you are making progress every time you hit that target. You should focus on the progress you’ve made at the start of a project. Then as you get nearer the end, switch your focus to the distance left to achieve your goal.

Rewards:

Rewards work better if you can get them in a short space of time and if you get them when your target is met. A reward can be as simple as a bar of chocolate, a glass of wine, or a pat on the back. You could try buying a bar of your favourite chocolate and telling yourself, “I can have some of that as soon as I hit my goal for the day.” Or if you have someone supportive around you, why not let them know you just hit your goal for the day. I’m sure they will congratulate you with a “Well done!” Who knows, it may be just what you need to keep you on track.

If you’re not a writer, I’m sure you can apply these principles to another part of your life. Why not give it a go, it might just work for you.