Have you heard the one about…

bookstore-by-pj-accetturo-on-unsplash.jpg
Bookstore by Pj Accetturo on Unsplash

So, this writer walks into a book store. She has a mooch about; she knows the store well. She often comes in, to browse (books are so expensive). It’s one of the largest book selling chains in the country. Nicely fitted out, and the staff are always friendly. It must be nice to work in a book store, surrounded by all those lovely books.

The writer picks up the latest copy of The Artist magazine. She’s written a few articles on behalf of clients which have been published in this particular periodical. Not that the artists get paid – it’s for their publicity. Nor does she get a mention, but at least the clients pay for her time. She has an idea for another of her clients.

But that’s not why she came today.

Clutching the magazine, she approaches the desk. One of the assistants intercepts her. “Can I help you?”

She takes a deep breath. “Can I just ask you..?”

The assistant smiles encouragingly. He’s a nice-look young man; intelligent, open-faced.

“Can I just ask you if the store supports Indie Authors?” (There, she said it).

The assistant smiles kindly; a little apologetically. “No, no, never. It’s all done by Head Office…with the publishers, you know.” He pauses. “There was this one time though…”

“Go on,” the author says, leaning forward, as if some major confidence might be shared; some key to unlock…

The assistant is speaking. “The lady’s books were selling very well. There was a lot of publicity. She was selling her books out of the boot of her car.” He shakes his head. “It was a bit greedy really. You know, on the part of the store. They realised they could make money out of her. It didn’t last long.”

The author nods. “So you have to be popular first?”

The assistant nods and smiles sympathetically (pityingly?)

The author nods. “I’ll just pay for this then.” (At least she asked. The ground didn’t swallow her up). She leaves the book store, head held high.

…/ continued

 

Advice for Authors: your online presence

Here’s some very sound advice for authors which I came across on J.I. (Jenn) Rogers’ Facebook author page – head over and have a look there are some really interesting and useful nuggets!

The article is by Anne R. Allen and is entitled ‘Your Online Presence: 10 Mistakes for Authors to Avoid’. Here’s the link  to this useful article (which includes another cute cat pic).

Food for thought. The article, not the cat.

To submit or not to submit..?

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Over the years I’ve had sporadic attempts at getting some of my short stories and flash fiction pieces published in various magazines and journals. Each time, after a series of rejections or silence, I give up for a while.

Rejection is a bit disappointing but it’s not the end of the world. Winning a prize, any kind of prize, would be lovely. A cash prize especially!

I’m still awaiting the outcome of a short story submission to a competition run by Mslexia, a UK magazine; whether or not it appeals to the judges remains to be seen. 

Either way, is it time to have another go? Well, yes, I think so. Coincidence is a wonderful thing and a couple of weeks ago I went to see a production of the longest-running ever play, Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap‘ which was playing at the Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town. It was really good and of course, I can’t tell you ‘who dunnit’, but it did get me thinking. Perhaps I could write a detective story.

And I was still thinking the following day that perhaps I should have a try.

The next day I received an email from Support Indie Authors with an invitation to participate in a Short Story Contest for a Murder Mystery. So I thought, why not?

This will be a totally new challenge as I will have to plan the story properly. No seat of the pants stuff. But I’ll see how it goes and let you know.

And, whilst we’re on the subject, this article from ‘A Writer’s Path’ happened to drop into my inbox last week. It’s in interesting little piece on submissions: How Fish Eggs are Like Fiction by Richard Risemberg

Time to have another bash…

How about you?


P.S. 31 January 2019. This arrived:

0 the irony

Hey ho…sigh!

 

 

Would you buy this book?

liverpool skyline pixabay
Liverpool Skyline, Pixabay

When 23 year old Lucy is given a beautiful ruby necklace by Pierre, a gorgeous man she’s only just met in a Liverpool nightclub, her humdrum life is changed forever. But the ruby is more than just an expensive jewel, and Albie Chan, the sinister Triad boss, is determined to have it for himself, forcing Pierre and Lucy to flee the city.

Meanwhile, Lucy’s best friend and flat mate, Gina, has been tracking down the father whom she never knew. Now Godrell Clark, once a sailor from Jamaica who was part of the Liverpool jazz scene in the sixties, finds his past is catching up with him fast, all the way to Kingston, Jamaica.

But there is an even greater prize than the ruby, and passions run high when a mysterious little jade statue turns up in a pile of boxes belonging to the upstairs tenants in Lucy and Gina’s rented house.

Lucy is snatched by Chan and Pierre faces an impossible choice: obtain the statue for Chan and gain Lucy’s freedom, or hand it over his one-time guardian and employer, the mysterious Aurora, to whom he owes his freedom from his brutal childhood.


So, you know what this is? It’s my long-sweated over first attempt at a blurb for my recently-completed novel. I’m not entirely happy with it, but I’ve stared at it long enough!

Some of you may have read the story (or bits of it) as a work in progress last year, so you’ll have an idea of the story. Others won’t, and you’re coming to it cold.

Would you buy on the strength of the pitch?
Would you at least ‘download it for a dollar’?

Writerly friends, please would you care to give me some feedback? Constructive criticism really is most welcome.

How readable is your story?

Duke_Humfrey's_Library_Interior_5,_Bodleian_Library,_Oxford,_UK_-_Diliff
Duke Humfrey’s Library, the oldest reading room of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford   Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

I’ve been wandering about on the old interweb looking for something to rate the reading level of my latest work-in-progress. It’s a children’s book, and this is the first time I’ve written for any audience other than adult (apart from one short story).

I’d tried comparing with some of the books which I still have on my shelves from my childhood, but I suppose I was looking for something more analytical.

Then I came across the Automatic Readability Checker from ‘Readability Formulas’. All you have to do is cut and paste some text from your work and you’ll get an assessment of the grade-age range of your writing. Interesting, huh?

So, I tried the first few paragraphs of the children’s story. The results show it’s ‘easy/fairly easy to read’ and at fourth to sixth grade level (9-12 years), which is great; I’m aiming at the middle grade market!

Then I tried some samples from my first novel, The Silver Locket. This comes out at much the same level. Interesting! So finally I popped in a couple of paragraphs from ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, which is the new novel I’ve just finished editing and I get a slightly higher reading age, 11-15 years.

Also interesting. Then I read somewhere else that Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Old Man and the Sea’ is a fourth grade read and that Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling both come out at between fifth and sixth grade levels.

It’s all about ‘readability’ and actually, who wants to read something difficult, unless it’s an academic text? And even then, wouldn’t you be aiming for at least a good level of readability?

In the end though, I guess the best judge is the reader. I’ll be posting my new work-in-progress children’s novel a weekly chapter at a time, starting next week. And I’ll be interested, as always, in your feedback. Must think of a title!

 

What will 2019 bring?

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Just a teeny-weeny slightly self-indulgent post to clear the decks and set me on a whole new year of writing. Note the new theme which is perhaps a bit tidier (unlike my desk).

I have finally finished editing the novel which I was writing all last year (between other things, like paid work). The next phase is the boring and daunting bit, the publishing and marketing. I’m going to take this slowly. Deep breaths!

So now I shall be turning my attention to my new work-in-progress novel. It’s the children’s book which I roughly drafted during NaNoWriMo. It hasn’t even got a working title yet, but very soon it will take the place of You’ll Never Walk Alone which will be disappearing from the pages here.

And there will still be my weekly little fiction pieces, responses, random thoughts and that kind of thing, and of course, reading all your lovely stories and engaging with the writing community on social media. However, I will mostly be writing fiction!

 

My Writing Year

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My writing space – yes, it’s messy.

2018 has been the year when:

  1. I managed to complete a pretty decent draft of my second novel, now at the MS stage. I’m just taking a little break from editing it now to write this.
  2. I (informally) took part in NaNoWriMo and almost completed a rough draft of a middle grade children’s book.
  3. I had some modest success in getting my first novel, ‘The Silver Locket’, out there. I had a look at the KDP stats and I sold a few dozen – enough to buy a couple of cups of coffee with cake!
    What I hadn’t realised was that 91 of you lovely folk read it on Kindle Unlimited. I hope you enjoyed!
    Note to self: I need to work on that marketing stuff next year.
  4. And finally, and unexpectedly, I accidentally became a blogger. This has been awesome. Writing can be lonely; being a homeworker also can be lonely. But you’re never alone when you have mates out there in inter-web-land. Thank you all!

And look at all these words I’ve so happily churned out:

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Thanks for reading, and thanks for liking and commenting.

Here’s to a wonderful 2019. Happy New Year!

 

 

Are email notifications from WordPress jamming up your inbox?

This is really helpful if you don’t know all the ins and outs of managing your notifications!

Keep it alive

When I started by blog, I didn’t know much about how to manage the notifications in my app and my computer/ laptop.

As I got into the groove, my readership grew and each and every time anyone commented, liked or followed my blog, I would get an email. So in addition to writing, reading and commenting a new task was added. That of deleting hundreds of emails from my inbox. This not only consumed a lot of time but caused a lot of irritation to me.

Every time I received an email with a notification, I was asked if I was getting too many emails and if I wanted to reduce the number of emails. I would try to uncheck the different boxes in the hopes of reducing the influx of these emails, but no substantial improvement happened.

Then one day I hit the jackpot! I found out how I…

View original post 201 more words

Christmas Hamper Challenge

0Christmas Hamper

What’s not to like about another little gift challenge!

Originating here from Rory at A Guy called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip and gifted onwards to me here by Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith.

This is the challenge:
Pick five items for five bloggers and put them in the hamper. Then explain what you put in and why.


0Bettys Tea Rooms

My first pick is Afternoon Tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms in York where I went to school. 

This is for Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, to thank her for her gifts to me this year as well as for all her wonderful posts which keep us busy reading, writing and admiring her work. And it will be another little learning experience for her about us weird Brits!


 

0the-gin-boxWhile I was in Betty’s, I noticed this rather splendid Gin Box for my second pick.

Now I’m rather partial to a nip of this stuff myself. However, I immediately though of Ellie Scott, a self-confessed gin drinker.

For all those awesomely witty short stories we’ve enjoyed throughout the year.

Cheers, Ellie!


0atlas

My third pick is an Illustrated World Atlas

This is for Foster and Panda at Nana’s Whimsical World, so they can choose where to go on their next adventure!

Have fun little guys! (I won’t tell Debra).

 


 

0map of worldSo while I was picking out the atlas, I came across this Outline World Map. This was perfect for my fourth pick.

It goes to Mickey & Yunni at Freja Travels  so they can colour in all the wonderful countries which we’ve enjoyed hearing about on their travel blog. Thanks for sharing with us!


0Roget
It really was an excellent book shop, because I also found this for my fifth and final pick.

The latest edition of Roget’s Thesaurus, I was tempted to keep this for myself as my copy is so old and battered.

However, it goes to J.I. Rogers, just in case she runs out of words for her Six Word Challenges, as if you would, Jenn!
Keep ’em coming!

 



I hope you enjoy your virtual pressies.

As ever, you can pick this up and roll with it or not!

0happy hols

 

 

 

The White Elephant

white elephants

Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, is holding a ‘White Elephant’ party throughout December and since Teresa very kindly gifted a beautiful time-turner to me yesterday, I’m continuing with three gifts of my own.


The first gift goes to Sadje of Keep it Alive and I’m giving her a display cabinet in which to keep all her well-deserved blogger awards:

Display Cabinet


Now, I actually got two of these in a Black Friday sale, so the second gift of a display cabinet goes to Salted Caramel for exactly the same reason. She also gets a second silly gift of a bowl of salted caramel flavour popcorn because I know she likes it and you can’t have too much of a good thing!

Salted Caramel Popcorn


And finally, my third gift goes  to The Dark Netizen  and I have chosen to give a him a lightsaber as I’m excited to know what he’ll do with it!

Lightsaber