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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Short story winners.

In February I held a little competition and the entries were as follows:

Monster Race by John Hudspith
Lurking Demons by Robert Crompton
Vacation by Peter DeMarco
Maureen goes to Oz by Jonathan Hill
Snow by Kathryn Hewitt

Sorry it's taken so long to announce the winner. You know how it is . . . that thing called real life interferes from time to time.

Anyway, my winner is Jonathan Hill! I adored Maureen in Maureen goes to Oz and can't wait to read her adventures in Maureen goes to Venice. I think I'm in for a treat! It was close though,I loved John Hudspith's Monster Race and the uncanny way he gets into the child's mind. It's almost as if I'm a kid again when I read his stories.

Jonathan has won a review and an author spotlight in a month of his choice. Well done, Jonathan!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Miss Anthrope on TOUR!


The Fall of the Misanthrope has been on a tour since February. She’s been showing her face all over the blogsphere and it’s been tremendous fun!

On Francine LaSala’s blog I was interviewed and asked questions about my books and my blog, so if there is anything you want to know about me then head on over for a look. Pam Funke allowed me to spotlight Misanthrope and there is a HUGE picture of me (ugh!) so be warned. On Monique McDonell’s blog I wrote an article called Chick Lit in all its Sub-Genre Glory, and we talk about the many sub-genre’s in romance and how DIFFERENT they are.

Misanthrope even made in on to Parent Bloggers Network where she was reviewed (btw am I the only one who gives my books a gender?); this was out of the blue so REALLY pleased about this one.

Over on Mike Cooley’s blog Misanthrope is spotlighted again with a short excerpt. The excerpt is when Valerie, my character, realises she fancies Lex Kendal, but she daren’t get into a relationship with him and so wants the next best thing—a one night stand. 

On Tracy James Jones’ blog I wrote an article titled: Can men ever be REAL men in women’s romance? Well can they? Head on over to see what that’s all about. Isabella Louise Anderson allowed me to post the entire first chapter so you might want to check that out before purchasing, or jump to Cindy Roesel’s blog for her review on Misanthrope. It says it all really.

The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am

Valerie Anthrope learned, from a young age, to hold tight to her emotions. Her days are spent keeping people at arm's length while she has conceded her nights will be forever haunted by disturbing dreams. 

Her life isn’t prepared for the bubbly and assertive Ellen, who believes she’s been put on this earth to help everyone she encounters. Ellen introduces Valerie to the sexy, but equally upbeat, playboy Lex Kendal.
Valerie’s not interested. Lex is and pursues Valerie. Then Valerie’s dreams become more sinister until, finally, she learns why. 
A modern Cinderella with Valerie's emotions playing the ugly sisters, Ellen enacting the fairy godmother, Lex Kendal playing a flirty Prince Charming and instead of a glass slipper, furry Boots. 

Can Lex win her before her dreams take control AKA midnight?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Bad Side of Being a Writer: 3 Things Non-Writers Don’t See

Ken Myers

When I first started out looking to be a writer I thought that there was no money to be made in it. I figured that only novelists and technical writers could get a job that paid enough to let you live. Needless to say, I was wrong. Because of my passion for writing I tried to get a job in the field anyway and succeeded.

However it was not the financial situation that proved to be the most difficult part of being a writer. Here are three issues that come with writing that non-writers do not think about:

1.      Repetitive – Writing is very repetitive. You end up writing the same essential thing over and over again. Editing and reediting is a part of writing. If you work in a niche field like biology or technology then you end up writing about essentially the same topics over and over again. Trying to come up with innovate new ways to say the same things is emotionally and mentally draining. As creative a field as writing is supposed to be, you still have aspects of writing that feel more like corporate paper pushing and cubicle dwelling. While writing can be very creative and freeing, in the majority of writing jobs you end up more constrained and following rules than free and inspired.

2.      Lonely –Another aspect of writing is that it is a very lonely job. You spend the majority of your time in front of a computer typing away with little to no social interaction. Many writers either work from home or in a small office setting where they stare at the same four walls day in and day out. There are exceptions to this, like travel writers, but that is few and far between. Even when you do have social interaction, like with your boss or fellow writers, it is very limited. They read what you write and make comments on it if you are lucky. There is little face to face communication. Being a loner is a good thing if you are a writer, but even loners get lonely after a while. Even successful writers who have published works that get comments from readers outside the office setting frequently do not get to interact much and receive little to no relevant feedback.

3.      Draining – Last but not least, writing is very draining. Think about it. You are poring your mind and heart and soul onto these pages day in and day out with little to no feedback. Unlike musicians or actors, you do not get to be adored or praised for your work most of the time. You are writing out into the void without expecting anything in return. That is why it is so important to have interests and relationships outside of writing to recharge your batteries. Reading is also a great way to fight the drain and get in new ideas.

I love being a writer, don’t get me wrong but there are some aspects that I was unaware of when I got into it. We all have off days at our jobs, things we don’t like. If you are thinking about being a writer full time then consider how you will deal with these issues and whether you are really prepared to devote all this time and energy into writing.

About the Author: 
Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care and related family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is a regular contributor to www.gonannies.com. You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com

Monday, 22 April 2013

How to Get Ideas for Books


Lisa Binion

Before I began to write, the complex plots in the books I read would amaze me.  I just could not figure out how the authors of these books came up with such fantastic ideas.  Since beginning to write, I have discovered ways to come up with some terrific ideas.

Take a look at your own life.  Life has a tendency to throw you into all kinds of situations, and each situation can be made into a story.  Softly and Tenderly came from the death of my mother when I was nine-years-old.  It was a traumatic time of life for me, and it took me a very long time to recover from her death.  I could have turned it into a mystery or a story that made people cry.  I could have written events just as they happened, but I really would not have been satisfied doing that.  I chose to make it creepy.

A few years ago, something happened to me that I’ll never forget.  It is something that I don’t want to live through again.  While I was out jogging, a spider must have fallen on my shoulder or in my hair.  That’s bad enough in itself, but when I discovered this spider on me, it was in my ear.  I didn’t realize at the time it was a spider.  All I felt were its legs as it crawled deep inside my ear.  Many excruciating hours later, I finally managed to coax it out by about drowning it with hydrogen peroxide.  It was one clean spider when it hit the floor.  I couldn’t let that horrifying event be for nothing.  I’m writing a book, Whisper, very lightly based on what happened.  Again, it will be a tale of horror.

If you can’t decide on an event in your life to write about, take a look at things that have happened in the lives of people you know.  Read newspapers and magazines to see what interesting things have happened in the lives of people you don’t know.  Check out current events and what is happening in the world today.

When you go shopping or go to town to pay bills, notice what is going on around you and listen in on other people’s conversations.  Just try not to be too obvious about what you are doing.  Is there someone you see doing something unusual?  Maybe someone is dressed in an unusual way.  Did you see someone walk away from their cart only to have someone else come along and pick up an item out of their cart?  Was that arranged beforehand?  Maybe it was a trade of some kind.

Perhaps your neighbor has a strange habit.  Does she walk outside every morning at exactly the same time and look down the road?  Is she watching for someone?  Why?  And who is she watching for?  I’m sure you can come up with all kinds of interesting scenarios to explain that.

Listen to your muse.  Pick up a sheet of paper and write down a word that interests you, a word that has a lot of meaning for you.  Now start jotting down other words that your main word brings to mind.  Before long, a story should start to form in your mind.  Keep at it long enough, and you should have enough to start writing.

One other way you can come up with ideas is to look at story prompts.  There are hundreds of these floating around on the Internet.  A lot articles on my BellaOnline Fiction Writing site have story prompts included in them.

Story prompts happen all around us each and every day.  All you have to do is notice them and build a story around them.

Friday, 19 April 2013

I've been awarded a Reality Blog Award

Thank you, Anita Stewart for nominating me for an award. I don’t get nominated often so forgive me for blowing my own trumpet here.

Anita has asked me a few questions. Check out her blog www.ancientbreeds.co.uk and her answers to the below questions. My questions and answers are below:

Q: If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
A: I wish I’d been this dedicated at writing earlier. I’m sure I’d be ‘doing lunch’ with Marian Keyes if I had.

Q: If you could repeat any age which would it be?
A: Ten years old. Wouldn’t it be fun to live the childhood years again? Wouldn’t want to stay there, mind, but to relinquish all responsibility for a day. Bliss.

Q: What really scares you?
A: Losing my parents. I’m at that age now where I realise they won’t be around for ever.

Q: If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?
A: Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. I’d like to know what’s going on inside his head. 

Thank you, Anita. That was fun! And to keep the ball rolling I would like to nominate fellow chick lit authors Francine LaSala and Sarka-Jonae Miller head to their blogs for their answers to the question.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Why I hate Editing . . .

Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

I don't know about you but I hate editing almost as much as I hate cleaning out the bathroom toilet, or cleaning the blinds, or scrubbing the inside of the refrigerator.


And though I realize that the best smelling bathrooms have been disinfected, and that my blinds look better when they are clean, and yes, my refrigerator even smells better after I've cleaned it, there's just something about editing that I hate.

Maybe it's the 'priceless words' that I must take out that don't contribute to the plot.

Or maybe it's the anxiousness I feeling getting my book 'into print'.

Perhaps I have readers anxious to read it, and some critiquer is taking an awful long time getting the book back to me

Maybe I hate editing because I can't edit just once, but find myself editing multiple times before I even hand it off to other proof readers or editors who may not like what I've written and suggest that I fix some things.

Or it could be I hate editing because I love writing, or prefer working on the right side of the brain rather than on the left.

Could be all of these reasons, and more. But just because I hate editing or having others edit for me, that doesn't mean that I don't do it.

There's something magical that happens to a well-edited piece of work. I'm not talking about a book that's been too edited, the kind where everything has been cut and trimmed to a quarter of an inch above the scalp. I'm talking about a book that's edited so that the writer's words do more than sit on the paper, yawning. The sort of words that flutter around and land on your shoulder for a spell, before they take off again to the mountain tops or the deep valley. I'm talking about a book made beautiful by the editing that's been done, not cursed by it.

Hopefully, I'm talking about my books, although I know that after multiple drafts someone might find a misspelled word.

Because I don't like perfection, either, and I don't think any book out there is so perfectly constructed, so perfectly in tune with God or ghosts or the underworld, that a few mistakes haven't crept in.

Yet another reason I hate editing, but continually do it because editing is part of being that awesome sort of writer others keep talking about.

And what writer doesn't want that?

Previous articles written by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones on WWBB: 5 Ways to Promote Your Book that You May Not have Thought of

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Book in the spotlight: Seals of Abgal

Woelf Dietrich

Those who hunt The Seals are driven by a hate older than time itself. 

Half price for a short while only.
Bookstore owner and novice antiquarian, Sebastian Kaine is proud of his new profession and even prouder still of the collection of antique books on the occult that he keeps locked away in the basement of his bookstore.

But his little utopia implodes when he wakes up in that same basement, bound and bloodied, and his prized collection all but destroyed. 

Making matters worse are the two strange men responsible for the carnage. They want The Seals of Abgal and insist Sebastian has it. Though he denies having any knowledge of the book, Sebastian soon finds himself at the receiving end of a violent interrogation--one, he fears, he may not survive. 

As he fights to stay alive, Sebastian will learn that The Seals of Abgal is no ordinary grimoire, and these men are no ordinary thugs.

Seals of Abgal can also be found in the following stores:
Amazon Canada

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Dishing the Dirt with best-selling author, Matt Dunn.

From Simon and Schuster to indie. 
Romantic comedy novelist, Matt Dunn, has chosen the indie route with his latest book, A Day at the Office. Read his amazing interview here . . .

You’re a man in a woman’s genre, top of the pile too, how does that make you feel?
Thanks, though I’m not even sure I’d be top of the slush pile! To be honest, I don’t think about it. I just try to write entertaining stories about real people, and hope they appeal to both men and women. If there’s one thing ‘unique’ about someone like me writing in this genre, perhaps it’s simply that I can give the male point of view. Though I do write as a woman (or two) as well in A Day At The Office, so maybe that’s all changed!

At last count, you have seven published books, have you stayed with the same publisher with those seven?
No. Simon and Schuster published my first six novels, but I published A Day At The Office myself.

Out NOW!
You’re an accomplished writer of many novels, but how long did it take you to get where you are today?
I'd known I wanted to write since I wrote/read out a piece at school assembly when I was fourteen – I’d put a few jokes in and they actually got a laugh, and I was hooked - but didn’t know what to do about it until I read High Fidelity in the late nineties, and realised there might be a readership for the kind of thing I wanted to write. A couple of years later I ‘decided’ to take a sabbatical (when my headhunting business collapsed thanks to 9/11) to write up the idea I'd been toying with, and actually finished the first draft pretty quickly. It took a while to get it published (see below) but to be honest, I wasn’t in any rush – rather than spend my evenings typing in a draughty garret, a friend of mine had loaned me his villa in the south of Spain, which was nice. From typing the first word to actually seeing the book on the shelves probably took around five years. Though playing a lot of tennis didn’t help speed the process up.

How did you find your agent? Was it in a long line of writing submissions and receiving the rejections before being signed, or were you one of the lucky ones and found the process easy?
I took the traditional route of sending my ms off to agents and publishers, and had the usual load of rejections (31, I think), so no, it wasn’t easy, especially when the ones who did deign to reply with anything more than a ‘no’ would often give me conflicting advice (‘loved the plot, characters need work’, followed by the next one saying ‘love the characterisation, but the plot needs developing’) but every third or fourth one would give me a little tip, or suggest how I could make the manuscript better, which I tried to take on board – the best being ‘read the bestsellers in your genre, and see how they achieve their page-turning quality’. Eventually, after a LOT of rewriting, and after being a bit smarter in the way I approached them (making personal contact by directly emailing ones I knew who represented similar writers, making my approach email more ‘salesy’), an agent took me on.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Book Reviews: The Good and Bad Apples

April L. Blanding
AKA Vogue!

So, you’ve finally finished your manuscript (congrats!), have decided on a publisher or have chosen to self-publish and are looking for your first shot at marketing your product. Aside from social media, which is the quickest outlet to reach an audience, you learn that the next most common marketing tip out there is to send your book to reviewers.

Yes, this means that you will be providing a free retail copy of your book, gifting an ebook or even sending a PDF file to book lovers across America and beyond. Then, you start, “the wait.” The wait is the waiting period from when the book reviewer gets your book, reads it and then finally posts their review. This process can take months, but there is no greater feeling then when you see a four star or five star review on your newly published novel. Even, a three star review, if written professionally with constructive criticism can become one of your favorite book reviews.

Nevertheless, there are always bad apples with good apples. These are the book reviews that you did not solicit; the ones that are written unprofessionally, with rude and uncouth remarks that make you question the sanity of these individuals. You know these reviews, you’ve read these reviews and perhaps, you may have even written one. Maybe, these reviews were not left on your book, but you have seen them.

These reviews feature comments such as, “I’m seriously getting fed up with these authors,” “I’m a big fan, I can’t believe you wrote this bad book,” “Don’t waste your money on this book, wait until it’s in the library,” or even, “If I could throw this book out of the window and run over it 5 million times then I would.”

The worst book review that I have come across is not even a legitimate book review. An Amazon user gave a book a 1-star review simply because the book was only available on Kindle. This review prompted me to take a look at Amazon’s guidelines for Customer Reviews. Reviews as such should not be featured on any author’s product.

However, when you are the author, how do you deal with these reviews? Quite naturally, we may want to contact the person and give them a piece of our mind. Still, our feelings have been hurt and our brand has been slightly tarnished. Personally, I believe that the best way to overcome the burn is to vent, get it out of your system and move on. Sometimes, we give so much attention to the negative that we lose sight of the positive. Remember this, every wound heals over time.

Nevertheless, what I would like for readers who leave the “bad apples” to understand is this: The author (s) who wrote the book you are reading is human. We are not invincible and we are not superhuman. Just like you, we laugh, we cry, we get mad, we get nervous, we make mistakes, we learn from our errors and in a nutshell- we have feelings. Take a second and think about what you are posting before you hit submit. This does not mean that you can’t voice your opinion, but there is a line between constructive criticism and being cruel.

For all of you authors out there, keep your head up, keep writing and keep working towards your goal. No one can stop, but you!

The Ace of Diamonds
by Vogue

Since his release from prison, Brookstone’s most notorious drug lord, Jay Santiago, has been hard at work rebuilding his life and empire. With two businesses under his belt and one in the making, Jay is readily known as one of New York’s elite men. 

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Bad Side of Being an Author

George A Bernstein

Is there a bad side to being an author? Let me count the ways!

Seriously, though, writing, and especially fiction, is a lot like life…with both ups and downs. But this month’s topic is more about the “downs,” so let’s look at that.
As an author, we’ve worked hard on creating our masterpiece. At least, I know I have, especially when I learned being talented was not enough

Book A Tour
I read how-to books on creating a blockbuster and I regularly attend writers’ conferences (where there are more classes about the entire spectrum of being an author than I could possibly attend). I’d written four novels and was focused on getting my first, Trapped, as good as I could make it, and eventually published. I learned a lot about what makes good writing, and am amazed at how many people who strive to be authors just don’t do the work to develop their craft. 

Anyhow, the only thing remotely “bad” about any of the above, was the time and effort it took to polish my skills…and that really wasn’t so bad, after all. Some of the “bad” are things all authors experience…and have come to expect:



What’s really bad about rejection isn’t so much that this agent or that editor didn’t think your work was for them. It’s that you’ve slaved over the perfect query letter, after consuming a plethora of articles from those same agents/editors on how to do it right…how to create that compelling hook. And then you read their web site and write a personalized letter, showing them you know who they are and what they like. And then the rejection comes in your dutifully supplied SASE: 
“Dear Author (NOT personalized), Thanks for thinking of me. Unfortunately, this is not for us (Despite being right in the strike zone of what they say they love). Perhaps you will have better success with someone else.” Yeah? Who? 

The frustration is that you went through a lot of effort to show them you MAY be right for them, and they send the generic form letter. You know in your heart they probably never even looked at your submission. Agents admit they look for the tiniest things in the query to summarily reject you. Surely they are swamped with queries, but their cavalier dismissal of you treasure is very disheartening. How many great authors were nearly buried with rejections. Gresham, Louis L’amore (350 times – America’s premier western author), and J.K. Rowlings are a few.

Another “bad” thing can be contests. Contests have great potential for the new author. I’ve entered several, and in fact my novel, Trapped, is published by TAG Publishers because I won their Next Great American Novel Contest. Trapped was also a finalist in the Florida Writers annual RPLA fiction contest, with over 300 entrants. And the rub here come from inconsistent judging. To qualify as a finalist, the novel has to receive a total of 80 or more points, out of a possible 100, based on two preliminary judges evaluation of 10 different criteria, 1 – 5 points for each. Trapped received a total of 48 from one judge and 46 from the other, both very complimentary of character development, scenes, and the 1st person POV throughout of my main character, Jackee. The latter was at the suggestion of Dee Burks, editor at TAG Publishers. Every chapter was from the POV of Jackee, and whatever happened away from her had to be learned by what she saw and what she heard.