I find myself with a little spare time on my last night in Brussels, and as I promised you all some photos of France, I thought I would use the time to add some (and a few from Belgium too). Being a fantasy author, I like to take photos of medieval buildings and the like for reference material. So here are a few of my favourites:-
France: Notre Dame (inside and outside) and Sacre Coeur (at the top of the hill up the many steps).
Belgium: a selection of photos from Brussels (Grand Place), Ghent and Bruges.
And finally, a picture of J.K. Rowling’s hand prints set into the paving on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Scotland –
I know I’ve been a little bit quiet lately, but as always, I have been busy. I have finished a draft copy of a book on self publishing and it has been reviewed by my beta readers. The feedback is good with some constructive criticism, helpful tips, and positive comments. My Goodreads giveaway has wrapped up and I have sent all the prizes to the winners, with 5 lucky readers winning a copy of The Crimson Guild and 1 winning a copy of Blood Rage. I have had 2 short stories beta read too and I have received positive feedback on them. After all that, I have put everything aside to enjoy a much needed holiday.
I was a little worried about parking my book on self-publishing for 4 weeks. Things are changing so quickly in the self-publishing world that I wanted to get it out as soon as possible. But sometimes you have to take time out to recharge, and when you are travelling from Australia to the UK, France and Belgium, you just have to make the most of it. So, tools have been put down to collect dust while I relax and recharge.
I’ve had such an awesome time catching up with friends in England that I haven’t seen for over 15 years. I’ve also made some new friends in Essex and I’m having a great time in Montmartre, Paris. Paris is a beautiful city with so much history and Montmartre is such a lovely part of it. There are cafes and bars everywhere, and there are many, many stairs you can climb to help burn off all the calories you consume eating and drinking. I’ve also been on a guided bike tour of the city while I have been here and I would recommend it to anyone that is a competent rider. It was truly enjoyable and I got some great photos and some good ideas for my stories. I have 1 more night in Paris before heading to Edinburgh for an underground tour of the old city beneath the Royal Mile. I’m really looking forward to it.
I doubt I will post again before I return to Australia, so I’ve added a few photos from England (Paris snaps to follow at a later date).
Picture by tsaiproject – Creative Commons
We need your help! That’s right, you have the power to help us authors out. If you’ve ever wondered how you can help your favourite author, I’ll give you a few tips here.
Firstly: Buy their books (this always seems to help, no matter how often you do it).
Tip 2: Reviews are king. If you read a book and you enjoyed it, leave a review! Leaving a review to say how much you enjoyed the book will make the author feel warm and fuzzy. But more than that, readers like to know what other people thought (which may prompt them to go on to buy the book themselves). It also helps with an authors ranking on places like Amazon.
Tip 3: Ain’t got time to write a review? Then leave a star rating – It all helps.
Tip 4: Share and like posts about their books. Your friends will see your post and may be interested in reading the book too.
Aside from purchasing an authors books, these little things will help out. I can also say, hand on heart, that most authors also have a day job. And, if they could just earn a little more from their book sales they might be able to reduce their hours and… write more books!
So if you can, blog about it, share your thoughts on social media, write a review on Amazon or Kobo or wherever else you can. What are you waiting for… Go help your favourite author.
I released my first fantasy novel this year and in what seems like a bit of a fantasy tradition to me, I included a fantasy map in the front. I was just flicking through my blog pages to see if they needed an update and I stumbled across the picture. The artwork is my own and does have some rough edges, but I felt this gave it an authentic feel (though others may feel it looks amateurish). Anyway, I got to thinking, as a reader, do you like to have a map or do you just skip over it to get to the story? Personally I like them, but I’m interested in what other readers think. And for those that like fantasy maps, here is a picture of mine which can is found in the front of ‘Blood Rage’.
So, what do you think? Is a map important to you? Does it add anything to the story? Please let me know your thoughts.
Thank you and happy reading!
Recently I went for an introduction to flying lesson. It was a little scary because the instructor went through the controls and then said, “you’ll be doing most of the flying today.” I thought he was joking, but oh no… he meant it. I got to taxi down to the runway, where he took control for take off, but as soon as we were up in the air he handed over to me. It was awesome, an amazing feeling to know I was flying the plane, but I was very tense, thinking of the consequences of doing something wrong. Anyway, I survived.
How can I apply this experience to my writing? Well, if I could apply these emotions to my writing, the elation, the tension, having my characters in a dangerous situation, making them and my readers so acutely aware of the stakes, I would have one hell of a story. I will try to remember how this felt the next time I’m writing a scene like this, hopefully the feelings will flow through to my writing.
And here are some photos for you all.
I thought I’d start this post by asking the question – Are reviews important to you?
Do you look at a book you are interested in and then read the reviews before deciding to purchase? Or do you read reviews which interest and inspire you to purchase a book you had not heard of? I am very interested to know the answers to these questions. Why? Because as an author it is drummed into me that reviews are like gold dust. It is said that they interest other readers and convince people to buy a book. Without reviews I will struggle or even crash and burn. These are the things I hear, anyway. Because of this I have been trying to drum up reviews for my books. I have placed a note inside the covers, asking readers to leave a review if they enjoyed the book. I have sent free copies to readers for their enjoyment, stating there is no obligation to leave a review, but it would be greatly appreciated if they did. But reviews are like that elusive winning lottery ticket, you know they are out there, they do exist, but they rarely show up. And so I get to the real point of this post. I would like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all my readers who have left a review for one of my books. Whether it be on amazon, goodreads or a blog you run, it is one of the small things you have done to help me as a writer, and for that, I am truly grateful.
What on earth have you been up to? We haven’t heard from you in ages, I hear you saying. Well. to be honest, I’ve been really busy, but I don’t feel like I’ve got much done at all. The life of a writer is hard yakka. I’ve been working on promo for months now, trying different things with small successes here and there, but nothing to write home about. I’ve done a bit of Face Book advertising, been drumming up a few reviews, dabbled in some Amazon Marketing, and now a good reads giveaway (and boy has that taken off… Not in sales, but I’m getting a lot of adds to readers TBR lists – which is awesome!) In between all that I’ve been building relations with a publisher (helping them to help Indie authors), trying to write more (not had too much luck with that), and trying to keep up with my own TBR list.
As far as my actual writing goes, I’m about half way through a short story I was doing for an anthology, but the submission date for entries has passed now, so I’ll be saving that story for another book. I’ve got around 3 complete stories in the first draft stage that I need to edit/rewrite to polish them up. Then there’s a novella (that might end up as a novel) that is around the half way mark. I plan to get stuck into finalising these in coming weeks, so I can start formatting them for print/ebook and find appropriate covers. At least that’s the plan!
If you haven’t read any of my work yet, you can grab a free copy of the anthology ’18’ from most of the popular retailers. It has my first published short story ‘Low Life’ lurking amongst the pages. The anthology Darkest Depths is also tipped to become free in the near future, so keep an eye out for that. It contains another short story by ‘yours truly’ called ‘Darkness in Shadows’. These both fit into the horror genre, but if that’s not your cup of tea, you can always enter the good reads giveaway for a copy of my fantasy novella ‘The Crimson Guild’ or if you’re feeling generous, shell out on a copy of ‘Blood Rage’ (or better still, the boxed set which is better value). In the meantime, I’ll do my best to get some new material out over the next 6 months.
As an Author, I am constantly hearing that you need to have a great cover for people to pick up your book. You need a great blurb on the back to grab the readers interest. You need a well edited story to hold the readers attention. This all makes perfect sense, but I’m curious if there is more to it than this. I mean, I’d buy a book if I heard people saying how great it was, regardless of the cover. I’d buy a book a friend recommended to me without even looking at the blurb. I’d even read a book with a great story without too much concern for its poor editing. But everyone is different, so I want to ask you, What made you purchase your last book?
I thought I would do a more personal post today, so I’m going to let you know what I got up to over the weekend. Firstly, it was an early start for me, early being 6am. “That’s not early!” I hear some of you saying, and for some people, it isn’t, but I’m not real good with early mornings and 6am is early for me. Anyway, after getting myself ready in a zombie-like state, it was off to Mount Tamborine. There’s a beautiful national park at Mount Tamborine and amongst it is a place called Thunderbird Park, where you can go to fossick for Thunder Eggs, but that’s another story. There is also a put-put (mini golf) course, laser skirmish, a café, and a tree top challenge – an obstacle course in the trees. It was the treetop challenge that drew me there. Why not have some fun in the treetops? I thought. Well after 5 hours across 4 courses that get progressively harder, I was exhausted. My hands were sore from holding on, my legs were sore from using muscles I didn’t know I had and my arms… well they almost decided to give up and play dead! Here’s a couple of pic’s for you.
This is me, having completed the easy circuit, thinking the hard circuit is going to be a piece of cake. I’m such an optimist.
And below you can see me standing on the platform in the trees.
Flick forward to Sunday morning:
Ouch! my body aches… I roll out of bed, shuffle to the shower, soaking my aching muscles. I soon find out I’ve been thrown into some crazy world of ‘It’s a Knock Out’, ‘Wipe out’ and ‘Takeshis Castle’ all rolled into one, as I try to get dressed and my muscles refuse to comply. I hobble into the kitchen and fumble through making a coffee, like a two year old with a shape sorter toy, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I sit down, feeling a little sorry for myself, and ease my super-heavy coffee cup to my lips, biceps straining under what can only be liquid lead within my cup; nope, it’s just coffee! I gulp it down and everything seems a little better. Why is having fun so painful?
Just a quick post with some photos from Disneyland Tokyo. Here they are:-
Back in Australia now and need to catch up on my writing stuff, but look what was waiting for me when I got home today:
So for those that have put in your orders, let me know when you would like to collect your copy.