Friday, 1 November 2019

The Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title 2019...

I was beginning to think that this may not be happening this year as the shortlist announcement is later than in 2018.

The mystery is solved and you can read the wry introduction to the 41st year of the prize over on the Bookseller website and the mention of last year's winner- kettles and water were involved...

This year's shortlist:

  • How to Drink Without Drinking by Fiona Beckett.
 (As it's not due out until January 2020 I'm ruling it out of my possibles.)
  • The Dirt Hole and its Variations by Charles L Dobbins.
 (Hunting related.)
  • Viking Encounters: Proceedings of the 18th Viking Congress by Anne Pedersen and Søren M Sindbæk.
  • Ending the War on Artisan Cheese by Catherine W Donnelly.
(Sadly not released until 28th November.)
  • Noah Gets Naked: Bible Stories They Didn't Teach You at Sunday School by Xanna Eve Chown.
  • Hitler's Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich by Eric Kurlander.
 (Published May 2018.)
You can vote via the link at the bottom of the page on the Bookseller website (link above) and there's time to consider the options before the 22nd November deadline.

This is going to be a tough choice. But I think many of them aren't so odd when you read the other text on the cover- you can find most of them on Amazon.

I suspect the Noah one will get lots of votes, it's definitely odd... so odd I voted for it.

It's a fun annual prize and the winner gets a bottle of Claret...

It's red wine from
Bordeaux...




Image by gerttaeymans from https://pixabay.com






















Monday, 21 October 2019

A Book Launch in the Museum...

Usually when I'm in Leicester, it's on a Friday for a Belmont Belles RNA Chapter meeting, so going to the city on a Saturday was unusual, especially when there was a big football match and memorial parade at the football stadium.

This time I was there for a book launch at the New Walk Museum, for Rosemary J Kind's new release, Unequal by Birth.
Cover design...

The museum was busy and popular with families. Just inside the entrance there was a large Lego figure displayed- think it was an Astronaut.

I will definitely visit another time as there was so much to see, including the art gallery that I passed through to get to the book launch in the Lord Mayor's room.

There were refreshments provided in the area outside the meeting room before the launch began, which gave me time to say hello to Rosemary in person- we've been friends online for many years but never met because of distance and no opportunity to be in the same county.

Rosemary's books for sale at the launch...
Rosemary read the opening chapter, that carries on the story of her characters from the earlier book New York Orphan.

There is another book in production...

Rosemary talked about the research she'd undertaken and the part the Orphan Train Movement in late 19th century America, featured in the first novel.

The Q&A followed, then there was the opportunity to buy a Rosemary's book (or books) and get them signed.

It was a lovely afternoon and I'm sure Rosemary's latest book will do well- she told her guests that on Saturday morning it was in the kindle charts ahead of Hilary Mantel and just behind Ken Follett- there's a screen shot on her Twitter account...

Sadly, I couldn't stay longer as I needed to get my train before the football match finished and lots of people headed for their trains home.
Fortunately, the station was only a five-minute walk away, barring getting across the road via a series of new pelican crossing points!

New Walk Museum
Leicester...
It was good to get away from my desk for an afternoon...

Have you been to a book launch in a place that wasn't a bookshop?




Sunday, 20 October 2019

A Week of Learning...

It's been a busy week so you'll be getting two posts today and tomorrow, otherwise it would be a very long post to read.

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed earlier last week and saw a link for the Romance Writers Summit. There was a free sign up to see the sessions released each day for five days- though this was a time zone in America.

After signing up I watched a few of the six sessions and they were interesting and useful. There was an email waiting the next morning in my inbox with the link to sign-in and go to page for playing each session.

It was like the online conference that the Alliance of Independent Authors do twice a year; you can access the content for a limited time but after that you need to buy an access pass, but with this summit that would give access to additional content and downloads related to some sessions.

Having been struggling with the beats in Act 2 of the Three Act structure- I'd been reading up on it and was still not clear around the middle mark, but then it all fell into place with NYT Bestseller, author Marilyn Brant. Her session 'Breaking Down Pride & Prejudice by the Beats' finally made sense of the troublesome middle.

Now I need to apply what I've learnt to my own novels!



Back to offline life, Friday was a workshop session held by the Nottingham Story Weavers, my local RNA Chapter, on Social Media & the Savvy Author with author Talia Hibbert.

She is brilliant and a lovely person too...

Talia has a book coming out early November with Avon, 'Get a Life, Chloe Brown'. So we received some insights on her social media use around the new book, and on using several social media platforms.

We all see writers with great social media posts, photos and images with the accompanying text. I've wondered how to do these correctly. Well, now I know and it's not complicated. 

There were examples of specific tools that make the process user-friendly. I will definitely try them out.

There were three things (among many others) that Talia emphasised as important: a website and a mailing list for your newsletter, and your author brand. 

For the couple of hours we had, there was a lot of practical and helpful content with the visual displays- and the handout with the website links we needed.

By the end we were all buzzing with a renewed energy.

If you'd like to find out more about Talia and her books, then pop over to her website.


Join me tomorrow to read the second post about my day in Leicester...



image:pixabay.com



Monday, 14 October 2019

When Amazon's KDP Met East Midlands Writers...

East Midlands writers heard from Darren Hardy, manager of the KDP UK (kindle direct publishing) at an event organised via the Society of Authors last Thursday evening.

They held the event at The Nottingham Mechanics- the regular venue for Nottingham Writers' Club meetings, so this was a local and a great opportunity to attend.

This was only the second time KDP had run this session so they're still refining the event and learning from each one.

Though I'm not sure Mr Hardy was quite prepared for the RNA members attending.

Basically, it was KDP promoting and showing how easy it was to self publish with them and generate up to 70% in digital and up to 60% in print on demand royalties.

They provided a helpful A4 handout with relevant details and URLs and examples of royalty calculations.

For those who had not used KDP there was a run-through of the process, though the images on the screen were not large enough to read the text from a distance, it was explained and key aspects highlighted.

Apparently the help button on the dashboard connects to a tech team whose only job is to sort out the technical issues or queries writers may have during the process. There are also webinars, which if you can't watch at the time they're running, you can access later via the video library.

Questions were raised during part one and more again with the part two content.

There were insights into Author Central and how the writer could use their profile. Their suggestion that authors should link all their social media accounts to their Amazon author profile was met with scepticism by some audience members; I raised the question of algorithms and writers losing reviews, or being banned from leaving reviews.

Mr H said this was only when there was a financial connection, a gift card or cash had been paid for a review. He said that if an author contacted them about disappearing reviews, they would look at it. A human would look at it...

Sadly, he did not appear to believe that authors were losing reviews when they'd done nothing wrong, but as they would not tell the writer the actual reason for review removal, and consequently not reinstate them (some are); it was not a satisfactory answer.

But the audience were also told to contact the Society of Authors with the details of when and what had been removed, so the Society could feed that back to KDP. He admitted that there had been a glitch last year, and they had reinstated those reviews but was unaware of any recently.

There were complaints of cover colour inconsistency from the print on demand service, but again there was no explanation, just let the Society of Authors know as well to feed it back.

Four RNA members I know of had received damaged books in the last few months because of poor packaging, including one sent back by the carrier, before it got to the author, because of the state it was in. It appeared Mr H was unaware of these type of complaints.

Another attendee asked about the get 50 reviews and visibility improves. That isn't right, we were told. It's the metadata, so using the best categorisation and effective keywords in relation to the book is the important thing.

There are some promotions that authors can be invited to take part in, but, unlike those occasions when Amazon reduces the price but the author still gets their set royalty rate, the invited promotions will be at a reduced royalty rate...

KDP encourage writers to set up their author central profile on each of the Amazon sites, but they have to be done individually, so sign in, apparently using your normal Amazon log-in details, and complete your profile for each one. Cut and paste is the only shortcut for this.

Print & e-book...
There's more but hopefully you'll get the opportunity to attend their future events in other parts of the country, so sign up to the Society of Authors non-members newsletter- if you haven't done so, as this was how I heard the news of this free event and booked.
While I learnt a few useful things, I went away disappointed.

The KDP manager was not as well briefed as he could have been, so when he couldn't really answer the negative issues writers raised, it showed and suggested, right or wrong, that KDP thought everything was rosy.

Hopefully, he'll take back those negatives and get them resolved.

The good news is that one RNA writer who had received damaged books a couple of months ago, received her latest author copies in good condition and better packing. So maybe there's hope for solutions.

If KDP do more of this event, hopefully, they'll be able to answer any difficult questions writers raise.

All that said, any opportunity to hear from KDP direct is to be welcomed...





image:Pixabay.com





Monday, 7 October 2019

Pressing the Pause Button...



I've been taking a break from writing to catch-up on reading for enjoyment and learning, but most of all not putting pressure on myself...

Trying to get my head around character arcs was giving me a headache until we discussed the topic on #writingchat on Twitter last Wednesday.

On the recommendation of several writers, I bought Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody.

I'm working my way through it and it's helping put some sense of proportion on the novel's current state.

Though I've been a little down the last few days, I've assorted writing events coming up this week and next. It's good to go out and meet other writers.

I'm especially looking forward to attending a book launch in Leicester in a fortnight, for Rosemary J Kind's latest novel, Unequal by Birth. Having known her online for many years we've never met- she lives in North Yorkshire, so it will be wonderful to say hello in person and support her launch.

Do you remember me mentioning the #SelfPubCon2019 sessions put together by ALLi
Vine Leaves Press
Notebook...
(Alliance of Independent Authors) last month?

Well, the Vine Leaves Press session about Video Marketing to Sell Your Books, ran a giveaway for their notebooks.

A few weeks ago was delighted to receive an email telling me I was one of the winners and asking which of the three notebook designs I wanted to receive and my address for delivery.

This is the one I chose (on the right) in the paperback form - they have a hardback version of each design too...

I received it at the weekend. Lovely isn't it?

Now I just need to decide what to write in it...





Notebook image via Amazon




Monday, 23 September 2019

Disappointment & Determination...

It surprised me to receive an email on Friday telling me the reader's report from the New Writers' Scheme was ready to access. I hadn't expected it so soon.

I considered ignoring it until later in the day, once I was home from meeting up with the Nottingham RNA Chapter, but I gave in and had a quick look through.

It was worse than I'd expected.
Wine...

I went out as planned.

Sharing my angst with the chapter members when we met up, I received sympathetic advice and helpful suggestions. Lunch and a glass of wine later, I had a more positive frame of mind.

Following one of the helpful suggestions I received, to print it out and go through the report with different colour highlighters, I could see the positives not just the negatives.

Many of the major points raised in the report I'd known about, but hadn't left enough time to fix before the August deadline- a lesson in time-management for next year's submission.

And the synopsis, let’s not go there...

There were a handful of positives, which gives me hope that with hard work I can improve the manuscript. But it will take time and thought.

Having learnt from this year's submission and report, I will apply that to another first draft I have waiting.

No, I'm not giving up on this story. I knew there was still plenty of work to do on it, along with the additional research points that popped up as I'd worked on the draft. But for now I need a short break away from it.

Getting it right is never easy...






Image: epicantus at pixabay.com





Sunday, 8 September 2019

Workshops and New Projects...

It's been a busy month so far and it's only the first week...

Yesterday (Saturday) I was at a workshop at Nottingham Writers' Club. The guest writer was Patsy Collins who was leading us through Characterisation and Dialogue.

Personally I think the latter element is really helped by getting the former element pinned down.

Patsy Collins & a few
of her books...
Something I will definitely be applying to my characters is how do my other characters see my main characters?

It was good to know my creativity was kicking back in again with the writing exercises.

For the first three days after getting my manuscript into the RNA's New Writers' Scheme my brain just went on temporary strike.

I put in a lot of hours in that last week- 15 hours on the Friday into the early hours of Saturday morning alone- as well as having spent a few hours at the walk-in centre on the Tuesday after a bad fall- catching my toe on the door ledge stepping in from the back-garden.

Yes, my mind had been on my manuscript and that approaching deadline rather than what I was actually doing at that moment...

 I damaged the ligaments either side of my right knee and bruised my tibia. Pleased to say nothing was broken. The bruises are now fading and after taking everything slowly I was moving around with care by the end of this past week, so no problem attending the workshop.

The broken tooth is being sorted later this week.

*   *   *

As I knew it would be a few months before I heard anything from the RNA NWS, I decided to make a start on setting up one of my other novels on Scrivener, but which one?

I have a complete first draft of a contemporary or the first five chapters of a 1920's story- the first three chapters and synopsis won the NWC 2018 Mary Street Romance Novel Shield. Admittedly the first draft novel (the synopsis and first three chapters of it) also won the 2016 Mary Street competition.

A 1920'S hat...
I know I have quite a lot of background research I need to do on the 1920's story, but it was calling to me, so I decided to start setting it up on Scrivener first and use the elements I hadn't used on my main manuscript.

I first started using Scrivener back in April when part of my historical was already in Word 2007 and as I was still becoming familiar with how Scrivener worked, I didn't have time to sort out all those helpful little aspects of the programme. It was get the second draft written!

This year I've learnt a great deal about how I write and put my novels together, so I'm now putting the knowledge I've gained into action with my other projects.

My Dorset novel needs looking at again to see what I need to research there too. That's at a similar stage to the 1920's novel, but will need complete rewriting as my voice has changed since it was started.

Priority is still to complete my 1802 Nottinghamshire novel, but I'm not going to waste the time in between...

Do you have more than one project on the go?




Saturday, 31 August 2019

I've Survived August- Now for September...

It's the last day of the month and as of 4.30 am (BST) this morning, my submission to the RNA's New Writers' Scheme went in.

Now I just have to wait for the eventual email telling me the reader's report is ready. I don't know who the published writer reading it will be, nor whether they're male or female. But whoever gets to read it- thank you.

The part I hadn't expected was how much time checking through the manuscript takes.

When I start the next draft I will be tougher on myself. I know I can do it now, it's about me being better prepared and organised during those busy everyday life events. Even 300-500 words a time soon builds up. I know I still have a lot to work to do in the next draft...

This weekend I relax, catch-up with all those things I didn't have time for- Sanditon on catch-up is first on my list...

Next Saturday (7th September) I'll be attending a half day workshop (I've been involved in organising it) at Nottingham Writers' Club.

Our guest is friend and blogger Patsy Collins The Travelling Writer, with her Effective Characterisation and Dialogue workshop from 1-5 pm.

Patsy Collins is coming to
    Nottingham...
There are still places available, so if you, or anyone you know are within reach of Nottingham and would like to attend, do please pass on the link.

Nottingham's Tram network links the railway station to a nearby tram stop less than 5 minutes walk away from our venue; plus the Victoria bus station and bus routes into the city centre are 5-10 minutes walk...


Then on the 14th I'll be at my desk tuning in to #SelfPubCon2019 it's 24 sessions online over 24 hours. (I won't be sat at my desk for 24 hours though...)

You need to register via ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors) you'll find them on Facebook, Twitter and their website. The three-day pass is free- just register with name and email.

I've tuned in to the past two: spring this year and fall of 2018. Both times I've learnt something I could put into action...


Do you have any writing related plans for September?



Image provided by Patsy Collins.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Almost There...

One week to go to my final deadline.

Today (Sunday) I've done about seven hours at the keyboard- obviously I did get up to make coffee and eat an occasional snack- okay there was a few pieces of dark chocolate involved. The result was the completion of Chapter 23.

My antagonist gets punched in the nose by my hero- with justifiable cause...

I'm at the stage of tying the various strands together in these last chapters.

I know some of the strands are still vague in the first half (I'll have to sort those out in the next draft) and they'll definitely need a lot of attention. I might have to try working backwards...

The downside of getting my submission in so close to the deadline for the RNA's New Writers' Scheme is I'll have a longer wait for the reader's comments to come back, but it gives me time to develop a couple of future stories.

#writing-romance

My first draft had 17 chapters; by the time the second draft is finished it will be at least 25 chapters and approximately 50,000 words.

 Normal blogging about a variety of subjects, annual book related events and topics will resume as soon as I have my partial submitted- and I decompress.

Almost there...



image: pixabay.com








Saturday, 17 August 2019

Cake and Lots of Words...

Two weeks to go and lots still to do.

I've had a couple of days break, rewarding myself for all the words I've achieved by attending the Nottingham RNA Chapter meeting. I was late arriving due to public transport hold-ups and the very heavy rain, but the food was worth waiting for...

Plus I need to sort the next scene out in my brain as there's new snippets as well as the part from the first draft for this upcoming scene.

My week three word was peril...

My hard work
reward...
The scene of peril was written- my heroine was lured to the big house and- sorry you'll have to wait for the book to come out to discover the rest.

Of course she survived, but for a moment there it did actually make me shiver, which should be a good sign, but maybe that's because I could see it in my mind.

I need that effect on the reader too.

This week I'll be trying to put in even more writing time as other demands on my time are put on hold or scaled back.

By next weekend I'll know whether I will have the draft complete or almost completed, so I can get the submission formatted ready for sending in.

I do have an old synopsis for this novel saved so that will need updating but it means some time will be saved.

My word for week two is determination- mine and my hero's...


Sunday, 11 August 2019

Three Weeks to Go: Progress Report...

Thursday my second draft went over the 40,000 word mark.

(Admittedly at the start of the year I already had a handful of the early chapters typed up.)

3 weeks to go...
I've still got chapters to go of course, but I have now picked back up the latter chapters of the first draft after writing the new ones in. A few scenes have moved position too and I feel they're now in the right place.

I can see where I'm heading. The fact that the first half of the draft is still missing scenes is another thing entirely...

(The last time I reached the 40,000 words stage was with the first novel I tried writing- in the last century!)

Although I don't use Scrivener to it's full potential (at the moment) it has definitely helped my progress. With Word, I was always conscious of how little I seemed to be producing, but now I get to the end of the chapter and I'm surprised by the word count.

(Changing the font really does help with the writing.)

I print out each chapter as it's finished and then slip them into clear plastic sleeves, they're then held together with a couple of green treasury tags. As the stack has built up it's made the novel feel more real.

My original assumption was that this story would end up around 50,000 words, but that may have been an under estimate. By the time it is finally completed- some time next year- I'm hoping 60,000 words may be nearer.

This week, the big peril scene in Chapter 19...






image from pixabay.com












Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Counting Down...

I have one month to get my manuscript in to the RNA's New Writers' Scheme. Fortunately I can submit a partial if that's all that's done.

At the moment I may just get the second draft finished, the manuscript tidied up, my form filled in and do the best I can on the synopsis...

As I've rewritten this second draft I have discovered how I make substantial progress, as well as realising that just because I think there's only a few missing scenes to fill in, my brain can think otherwise.

Starting out on draft 2, I believed I probably had two or three scenes each in two, maybe three new chapters to fill in the gaps. How wrong I was!

Still working on it...
Honestly I'm not sure how many new scenes there are, but I've added five chapters that were missing from that first draft.

There is still a lot of work that will need to be done in the next draft, improve the first half, then there's odd bits that need reworking, narrative changed to scenes/dialogue, descriptions added and character arcs checked. And that's before I start the editing process!

Even though all this work lies ahead I'm satisfied with all I've achieved so far, also what I've learnt about how I write and plot.

But most importantly I've learnt to trust my subconscious; those random bits of dialogue that don't seem to serve a purpose at the time, do fulfil a role later on...

When I do get the RNA's reader's comments back I am expecting quite a lot of pages to read and consider, then decide where I go from there.

For now it's get this draft complete.

Wish me luck...



image: pixabay.com

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Conference Season

It's hard to believe that a week ago I was in Lancaster at the 2019 Conference of the Romantic Novelists Association.

Apart from the rain while travelling to the venue at Lancaster University (a huge site) the whole weekend was warm and sunny.

The accommodation block I was in overlooked a green area of grass, bushes and trees. In fact it wasn't just bird life that lurked. Waking up early on the Saturday morning it was lovely to look out of the window, just after six a.m, to see not only birds loitering but a couple of rabbits too. Then returning to my block after dinner late Saturday night I saw and heard a hedgehog.

View toward the
motorway...
This year it was quite difficult to choose which sessions I wanted to attend as there were so many great options. So I chose what interested me or would be the most helpful for the stage I'm at now.

After their triumph last year it was good to see Virginia Heath and Liam Living back to help us 'Keep that Sexy Momentum Going'.

I should have been in the get-together for the New Writers Scheme at that time, but I'd enjoyed and learnt so much last year from Virginia and Liam's session that I didn't want to miss this one.

With only an hour available some topics couldn't go into much depth, but with brains buzzing from everything, it was probably enough.

I definitely found the cover design tips from Stuart Bache, helpful. I now know what I need to consider and what to avoid!

But there was lots more.

The Gala Dinner on the Saturday night is an opportunity to dress up if you want to. And of course I did- I don't get many opportunities to do so...

Dressed for dinner...
(thanks to Georgia Hill
for taking the picture)
Finally I got to meet the lovely Rosemary Gemmell after having known her through her blog for some time.

That's the problem with conferences, lots of people  you know but may only see as they rush past in the opposite direction or across the crowded room at lunchtime.

There was lots of walking between the accommodation and the hub where the sessions took place. Lots of stairs to climb- no lift. Rather a considerable amount of alcohol consumed (my lips are sealed) and plenty of water during the day.

The main hub had a device that enabled you to refill your bottle with cold water, while a display told you how many plastic bottles had been avoided.

Every year there's a goody bag (on arrival) and among the contents a paperback or two.

Reading matter...
 I'm glad I brought a backpack with me as I was able to carry my big notebook, jacket and anything else I didn't have room for in my handbag...

As before, I came home buzzing with insights and determined to finish my novel, then start the next one.

I hope to go to next year's conference...








Tuesday, 16 July 2019

I'm Back!

It's been a long time since I was last able to post to the blog, so apologies for the silence.

As friends on Facebook and Twitter will know, I changed broadband provider and upgraded to fibre, but sadly my 4th June changeover didn't go to plan- basically everything that could go wrong did...

It's only when you don't have broadband you realise how much you depend on it for both major and seemingly inconsequential items. That's when you discover how even those little things are so much easier and quicker with it.

Need to quickly check whether a word was being used around 1800? And did it mean then what it means now? It's so much quicker with a few clicks of the keyboard to check https://www.etymonline.com/ -do have a look at it.

My bookshelf reference library got heavy use...

Fortunately after two weeks offline we were introduced to a little Vodaphone mobile wifi device (I'm not being paid to promote it) when the OH and I were out looking for a replacement tumble-drier (that finally died on us after twenty years, around the same time).

It did mean all the family could access the Internet while we were waiting, but we needed to be careful to keep enough data for the month, just in case the fibre broadband took longer- it did.

Across my various email accounts I deleted nearly 2,000 emails unread, only keeping a few in each account that needed action. I really must cull some of those mailing lists and newsletters.

Eventually the only option was for the new provider to completely start again, which meant we temporarily lost our home phone number for about five days until our supplier reclaimed it. (I had visions of my number ending up somewhere else and the poor recipient being rung up about the writers' club, if they couldn't get our number back.) Fortunately that went okay and the broadband order could then go through.

Last Tuesday- five weeks after we should have originally changed over- we finally had fibre broadband live.



With only a few days before I was off to the RNA Conference in Lancaster I started on all those items that would have been a heavy data drain- still have a few to catch up with.

It certainly makes you realise how much of everyday life now revolves around having a broadband connection...

Next post it's my RNA Conference experience...


Image from Pixabay.com


Monday, 20 May 2019

Writing and Gardening - A Healthy Combination...

The novel continues to progress. I hit a slight blip in the last chapter but I worked out what it was missing and am now onto the next chapter.

I've booked to go to this year's RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) Conference in July.

This year I've been trying to reduce the stresses that get to me. After a very bad day a few weeks ago my distress was eventually eased with a quiet walk by the nearby stream absorbing the quiet and the sights and sounds of nature, while the trees muffled the background noise of constant traffic.

This year I've also decided to grow more in the garden and in tubs on the patio. We've always grown various types of fruit: rhubarb, gooseberries, blackberries  and red currants.

Gooseberries
and Lemon Balm...
I used to have a small greenhouse but that had to go to be replaced by a shed, so space for sowing seeds became non-existent.

Over the warm Easter weekend I began the sowing and planting, Lettuce that you can cut leaves off and leave to regrow, Marigolds and Sage. I'm also trying to grow potatoes as a first time experiment.

I recently bought a Lupin plant locally and transplanted it into a bigger pot. It has a couple of flowers that are opening and providing a burst of colour.

Lupins...

The bees seem to like the Lupins...

After an unexpected passing visit from a Pheasant back in April we've become used to seeing and hearing the sounds of Mallard ducks.

While I was outside taking these photos I could hear the quaking and thought a duck was in the garden next door.

Then I saw the female duck tucking into the bird food under our hawthorn tree and quietly began to move back toward the house.

When I stood up and looked over the top of the clothesline full of drying towels I saw the male duck watching me.

I quickly took a picture and a moment later he took off and joined his mate at the food stop.

Ready for Take-Off...
It's fun to look out the kitchen window and see the ducks waddling around or settled down to a synchronised snooze, each with their beak tucked under a wing.

Some days they lurk for hours, others it's a swift take-away visit.

With the bench in the shade of the old rose bush it's relaxing to sit outside with a book and a mug of coffee even for a short time before returning to normality.

Do you get any unexpected wildlife visiting you?





Sunday, 28 April 2019

To Prologue or Not...

After taking a break over Easter to start sowing vegetable and herb seeds in pots and tubs, I'm getting back to the novel.

Moving to Scrivener was definitely a good move, I can concentrate much better using it.

I'm working my way through writing the new scenes (missing from draft one) and am now finding a few of those original scenes in draft one have changed, moved or are no longer needed.

I even have a scene that I thought I'd put in the first draft but hadn't!

On Friday I got together with a couple of fellow romance writers and shared my concerns over how I deal with a particular piece of important information, currently in the second chapter, that still comes over as an info-dump.

Working it out...
While a small part can be slipped in naturally in conversation (where it is now) I need to remove the rest but find some way to show the really important part. As the rewriting has progressed it still can't be worked in elsewhere.

(It has to be dealt with in the third draft...)

So I decided the only way to overcome the problem was to create a short prologue.

Prologues are like Marmite, love them or hate them.

I don't mind them if they are used for a valid reason, but did wonder if my decision for it was reason enough.

So I did some Googling and came across two articles that discuss the do's and don'ts of prologues. First there's a post from the Writers Digest and the Writers & Artists website...

Having had a couple more days to consider the possibilities, I'm sure it's right for the story, as the consequences of that moment will lead to incidents that bring my hero and heroine into contact and eventually together...

By the time I'm ready to go back and finalise the first couple of chapters (I'm not totally happy with them yet) I'll be ready to write that prologue.

Now over to you; what's your view on prologues?





Image by Geralt from Pixabay.com

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Multi-tasking...

Are you a multi-tasking writer?

Although I'm concentrating on my novel at the moment I'm thinking about two other projects in-between all the home-life.

More than one
direction...
I've started thinking about a research trip sometime in 2020 for the next novel in the queue, whilst a scene idea for another novel (further down the queue) popped into my mind while I was out in the sunshine.

Maybe it's Spring that has been the inspiration...

Having got over the recent bug that stuffed up my sinuses and then moved to a bad cough, I've also been running errands for a close relative who's recovering from major surgery so I've not been at the work in progress as much as usual, so that's probably why my brain has allowed me to think about two of my other future projects.

I found this article, How Many Books Should You Write at Once? by author Debbie Young, interesting. There was such variation in the answers each writer gave her.

A couple of years ago I did try doing two novel drafts but it didn't work for me; I needed to concentrate on one at a time. But I did then complete two first drafts one after the other...

I am a slow writer, but Scrivener has definitely helped me make better progress now I'm used to it. I know where I'm going with the current rewriting and new scenes so I'm not stopping and starting when I'm writing, like I used to.

Thinking time.
I've discovered I need to do this at the end of the writing day before the next new scene is written- which surprised me as I thought I had it worked out in my head already, but it does help.

(It may just be this particular story, but I'll be prepared and allow extra time for it with the next book.)

So do you write more than one book at a time? Or a mix of books, short stories, articles or other writing?




image from Pixabay.com


























Sunday, 24 March 2019

How Much Will You Pay for an E-book?

Now I know that authors who are traditionally published have no say on what price the e-book of their novels is sold at. Of course there will be price promotions where readers can buy the e-book for 99 pence for a limited time.

Whereas with self-published e-books the price can vary, though I've heard £2.99 is the ideal price- maybe is is and maybe it isn't?

Of course there's always a selection at 99 pence; but just because they're a low price that doesn't necessarily reflect badly on their quality.

As writers we know the same amount of work has gone into the writing and production of the book whether it's on paper or a digital file.

But as a reader, what price is too high for you to buy an e-book?

Unlike a print book, an e-book- a digital file (while it can last for as long as the technology exists to read it and is available) is more like a rental with no defined end date.
Print or E-book
for the cost?

Plus e-books prices include VAT.

The provider can modify or remove an e-book, likewise if
an online provider has closed a person's account for some reason, the reader will lose access to those e-books they've purchased.

(So if you've got a favourite book it's always a good idea to get a print copy too.)

So back to price.

I recently saw a new  release by one of my many favourite writers (a hybrid author). I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the story having read the blurb, so downloaded the sample. At this point the price was still £3+.

It was a couple of days before I read the sample and decided okay, it has potential I'll buy the e-book. But when I went to Amazon the new release price had gone up to £5+ and I decided no it wasn't worth it at that price...

That response surprised me.

It may just be that I wasn't so intrigued that I just had to read more instantly. Perhaps the author has just lost their edge, that sparkle that would have once guaranteed an immediate buy.

This time it was the price that made the difference between me saying okay I'll buy it- even if it seems not to be as good as previous novels. To saying no, it's not worth it at that price. I probably would have bought it at the £3+ price.

There are a few e-books that I've bought at the £5+ range, but generally I'd opt for a paperback version, as sometimes it can be better value.

I realised that for me, quality + price = value = buy.

So a couple of questions to you as a reader, rather than a writer.

Do you have a maximum price bar when buying e-books?

Or does it depend upon the particular e-book, author or some other combination?

I'm looking forward to reading your responses...




Image from Pixabay.com