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I was delighted to be invited recently to share some thoughts on Sue Vincent’s blog. Sue herself has plenty to say on a range of subjects, all with a lot of thought attached to them. If you haven’t come across her yet, I’d encourage you to go take a look.
For now, though, here’s the outcome of my own stream of consciousness…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Photo: Sue Vincent

When I wrote Ravens Gathering, I knew it needed plotting carefully. There were several twists in it, and garden paths needed laying for the reader to be led up – difficult to do if you start with no real sense of direction.

So I decamped to Spain for a week and spent each morning on a balcony with a sea view in front of me and mountains either side. There are worse places to sit with a pen and A4 pad.

Over the course of that week, I wrote the outline. I started by writing out the events in chronological order, giving me a timeline. But, of course, that’s not the order you reveal things in. I also had to bear in mind that, although some of the events took place over decades, the core story needed telling over a few days. So it was like…

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I stumbled (such is my life, that’s the way I usually find out about these things) across this blog post today and it has been a revelation. No doubt there will be plenty out there who already know about this, but for those who don’t… Well worth a read

Story Empire

Hello, SEers! Harmony here 🙂

Recently, I had to update my webpage to reflect a book release due out soon. I realised that I had forgotten completely how to make the book previews that I’d done for my other books, lols. So, good old Google came to the rescue. Then I thought that it might be useful for folks if I outlined the process of Embedding Amazon Book Previews into your website here. If you know all this already, then of course feel free to ignore me! The other benefit of sharing this is that, in writing it all out, it might actually embed in this brain of mine! (Miracles have been known to happen.)

Happily, unlike donating digital gifts (including ebooks), this feature works on both Amazon UK as well as Amazon US. Yay! (Sorry, but being in the UK, that’s one of my gripes, ha ha.)

Anyhooooo …

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Isn’t it great that you can call a bestselling author a friend? A chance meeting at a Conference about a year ago, and now Louise and I get together periodically for lunch and exchange our highs and woes about our writing experiences.
Louise’s story is an inspiration to all writers, me included, and I’d encourage you to learn more about her on her website, FabricatingFiction. So it was a bit of a surprise when I was asked if I could help her out…

fabricating fiction

I am a writer. I am an introverted writer. The thought of public speaking makes my skin prickle and my head swim and yet it is something writers are often expected to do, and to be honest, despite the fear, it is something I am eager to do. The chance to meet readers. To talk about my books. A couple of weeks ago, on World Book Day, I gave my first ever talk to 250 primary school children on reading, writing and following your dreams (you can read about that here.) Beforehand I was lucky enough to get some tips from my good friend and fellow author Graeme Cumming who is so adept at public speaking he belongs to a Speakers Club (for fun!!!). Thankfully I got through my own talk without fainting/vomiting/crying/all three and I’m delighted to welcome Graeme onto my blog today to share his wisdom with you. 

Getting…

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As an author, I know the value of reviews. The more you get, the more chance your book will get some attention. Not all reviews are good – that can be for a range of reasons, including that of personal taste. When I write a story, I don’t have any expectation that it will appeal to everyone. If I did, I’d be kidding myself and setting myself up for a fall. As it happens, by writing a novel that crosses genres, I know I’ve created a barrier already.
Against that background, I’m grateful for a review of any kind. Even the reviewer who complained how bad Ravens Gathering was (and didn’t get it even after the second read!) deserves appreciation for not only bothering to read my book, but to take time out to comment on it. Time is our most valuable commodity, and we shouldn’t underestimate that.
With that in mind, it’s disappointing that a book blogger has reached a point where they have to write this. This community is valuable and should be supported. Start now, by reading what Terry has to say

Rosie Amber

Today I’m hosting a post written by Terry Tyler which I feel strongly about aswell.

bMBCGi9O_400x400

#Bookblogger bashing: in the end, you’re only hurting yourself.

I’ve read a few posts lately about book bloggers being bullied or ‘trolled’ by writers for whom they have received bad reviews, or whose books they have rejected.  For more on this, here’s a heartrending post from The Happy Meerkat, and an associated one on Fictionophile about whether or not reviews should be objective or personal opinion, amongst other things.

Like 99% of the rest of the online writer/reader/blogger/reviewer community, I’m appalled that bloggers who give up their time to read books by total strangers, for no payment, are receiving such harassment.

I write this from the point of view of a writer, and a book reviewer.  Although my own book review blog is mostly for my own reading choices, I’m also a member of

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A painter’s palette

This year, I will make a big leap (or maybe even a few). There come times in our lives when we really should do, but hold ourselves back. A ticking clock can motivate – it has for me.
Not being particularly interested in painting – either doing it or looking at the end results (I know, I have no soul!) – I nearly passed Sue’s post over. But something made me read on, and I realised this isn’t about painting. It’s about me. It’s about all of us.

The Silent Eye

dead-painters-palette

The faded flower caught my eye as I was trimming the potted plants on the windowsill. The rich shades of its life and death were so striking they would make an amazing watercolour. Appropriate, really, as the flower was an Anthurium, the painter’s palette. The heart shaped bloom seemed too beautiful to simply add to the compost so I reached for the camera, thinking that really, I should have reached for the paints.

Then I realised that I haven’t painted once since I moved house several months ago. In fact, I haven’t even unpacked them. Granted, there is a problem of space. There is no longer a spare room to serve as a studio and storage area, but that excuse only works for the oils and the big easel. The watercolours would slip in a drawer.

I used to paint something every day, just to keep learning, even if it…

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Reviews are essential

All authors, indie or otherwise, know that it’s important to get our books reviewed. This post by Kevin Brennan tells a particular tale that reinforces the point. If you’re an author, you’ll relate to it and probably feel more motivated to get reviews. If you’re a reader, I hope it’ll spur you on to give up a little bit more of your time to express an opinion on any book you’ve read. Even a few words can make a huge difference

WHAT THE HELL

fascination

I had just been rejected by Ereader News Today for the second time in two months. Something in me snapped.

There aren’t very many effective ways to promote indie books, and without promotion the whole self-publishing wheel stops turning. And not just promotion but low prices too — generally 99 cents or even free. I’ve complained before …

But when ENT declined to promote Fascination again last week, I decided I had to find out why. So I appealed the decision.

I described my history with ENT — three novels in three years, all with successful campaigns via ENT — as well as my earlier publication history. Parts Unknown. William Morrow/HarperCollins. I’m not a shoe salesman who decided to “write up” this great idea for a novel I’ve always had.

Bridget from ENT wrote me back within a few hours and explained that Fascination had been declined — get…

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It’s always a pleasure to get some feedback from someone who’s read your book. Even from those that tell you it’s rubbish, you have the reassurance that they’ve actually read it all!
Fortunately, this review is a lot more positive

bytheletterbookreviews

17183770Book Description:

As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.

“You know what they are, don’t you?”

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a…

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