Sunday, January 27, 2013

February is Coming!

Hi everyone - How has your week been?

There's not a great deal going on in my life at the moment.
This past week I've had my head buried in the edits of Fallen Angels - Book three of the Guardian Series...
No! It's not glamorous, but it's part of the everyday life of an author.
I've also been planning ahead for the release dates of some forthcoming work for 2013, organizing blog/publicity tours, advertising, etc, etc...

Thank goodness more interesting stuff is going on elsewhere!

My 1st bright point of the week was a lovely e-mail from Cara Drake from the U.S.A. another of the prize winners from the Pagan Writers Press Birthday Bash Giveaway last year.
Cara was kind enough to send in a photo of herself enjoying the items from her prize pack.
So, once again, on behalf of everyone at Pagan Writers Press, "thanks very much" Cara for writing in and letting us know how much you enjoyed the event - and your prize.
Remember - the authors at Pagan Writers Press are a closeknit family, and we hold competitions/events/giveaways on a regular basis.
If you didn't win anything this time...there will be other opportunities.
Do stop by at the website to find out what's happening in the near future:
or on Facebook itself to see our current competitions, etc.
We cover a wide range of genres, and you're sure to find something to suit your reading tastes.
Talking of which! 
While it may be quiet for me at the moment, it certainly isn't for some of my fellow authors.
This week, my friend, Tara Chevrestt released the following  story:


All you really need to hear is your heart

When Ciara Littleton finally joins Facebook to socialize without the limits her hearing impairment gives her, she looks up a childhood friend on a whim. In sending him that first message, she ignites the memories of a crush from twenty years ago. Can a simple friend request fix all that stands between them and maybe even lead to something more?

What happens next? Ah, you'll have to get it to see...

Love Request is available through Amazon above, or at Smashwords on the following link:

So - as you can see, although it may be quiet for me, it's busy elsewhere...
February is almost upon us, and next month will see the release of another great story by....
Ha! You'll have to come back and find out...
(Or cheat! Our Facebook/Website pages spill the beans)
See you next week,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How do YOU paint a picture with words?

Its has been said, "A picture paints a thousand words". And that's quite an apt expression for us to remember when it comes to writing a story.
Just as you find a number of different styles of painting - Modern - Classical - Impressionist - Abstract - Baroque - Cubist, etc, the same will be very true of writers.
I've just reached the end of another story myself. It's the final book of the first Guardians trilogy. And I asked myself this very question:
"How have I painted MY picture?"
Remember, I'm new. I'm still in transition if you like, from aspiring wannabe to aspiring/established author. I'm still adapting to the requirements of my new craft, and trying to adopt the necessities of the industry & my publisher.
Although I'm coming along, there are a few things I still have to do to make sure I don't get carried away...especially as I have a tendency to be "wordy".
When I've finished writing a chapter, I always check back through it for accuracy and "Flow". Is it easy to read? Does it gel? Are the transitions smooth?
eg...All the stuff a writer has to do anyway.
BUT - Once I've finished the 1st draft, I then go back to the beginning and read it through again.
THIS time, I check it for "Wordiness".
And I have to.
In previous blogs, I've explained a bit about my background. I've had years and years of intricate and detailed report writing shoved down my throat. At first THAT tendency spilled over into my writing.
If I was writing a fight scene - I thought I was making it "realistic" to describe every move, every twitch, every position of the foot and hand.
If the subject touched on something scientific, I'd explain every last detail to the nnnth degree!
I see now, what THAT can do to the flow of the story. If you're not careful, you actually dam the rhythm of the scene taking place.
So, in an effort to help me remember what I'm trying to do, I thought about painters.
They have a great many styles, and I thought..."How would I describe MY writing style in painting terms?"
The answer was quite easy. I love to draw. (Not Paint). Here are a few examples of some old book covers I drew.
AND - you've guessed it - when I do, I try to accurately reflect the scene/image I'm looking at with as much detail as possible...
(I mean...guess how long it took me to do these! I didn't bash them out in a few minutes - I can tell you!)
If I tried to do this in painting, it would come across as a Realist/Classic style. Masses of detail, very intricate, trying to capture every grain of sand on the beach. It would take months!
Can you imagine trying to read something like that? OUCH! YES, I'm thinking of my poor editors with my first submissions :/
So, as I approach my 2nd round draft, I'm going to take a leaf out of the book of a very talented artist I once knew, Alwyn Crawshaw.
For a time, (BEFORE I was married, I might add), his daughter and I were an item. Artistic flair ran in the family. He had his own TV series, a number of books on the market, etc, and no wonder. He was able to paint in a number of different styles.
The techniques and construct for each style could be astonishingly different, and as someone who was "Stuck" in the "mass of detail" rut, it always used to amaze me when he adopted an Impressionist style, especially with watercolor.
In a matter of minutes, he could lay down a few washes of color that would capture the moment perfectly!
No need to depict every blade of grass, no need to show every contour & knot in the bark of a tree. Just a simple lesson in the swift and accurate placement of all the main visual ingredients, and then..."ta-daaah!" He shed light on his depiction of a scene. His impression of it...and YOUR MIND filled in the rest and made it stand out!
THAT's what I want to capture as I go through my edits.
To be honest, I think it's what we should ALL aspire to as writers.
I want to capture the imagination of my readers. I want them to build my world in their minds. When I write, I have to remember to let them do that.
If I swamp them with too much detail, they're going to keep backpaddling to try and understand what the heck I'm going on about.
But - if I describe an action scene/fight scene/whatever scene - and do so simply, accurately, with the prime ingredients...and then add a wash of clarification to shed light on what I want to achieve...
Ah! THEN I'll be on the right track.
The melody I'm trying to write will have an easy rhythm from beginning to end. My story will flow naturally from sequence to sequence, even where there are scene changes. And my reader will be drawn along by the current of what I've created, so they can immerse themselves in a world of wonder that they want to be part of. A world THEY will fill out, in their own unique way.
So - how will turn out?
Stay tuned...I'll let you know by the size of my editor's headache :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Learning From Your Peers

Now we're into 2013, I thought it would be a great time to start paying even more attention to what's happening in the lives of my fellow authors at Pagan Writers Press.
A lot has happened over the past year - as you know.
I received the first of several contracts - got published - met some great people...
And realized I'd only just begun to scratch the surface!
For those of you who are still aspiring authors - or fresh on the market - as I am...
Wow! There's still so much to learn!
Did you do enough homework as your book was coming out?
Was your pre-sales advertising aimed at the right market?
Did you target the right followers?
What incentive did you give prospective followers to begin reading your work...And then actually stay with you?
How did you get people to 'spread the word'?
You see, the harsh reality matter how good your work or concept is...unless you get some of the basic things right, how will people actually find out YOU and your work?
Looking back, I can see where I made mistakes.
Hey...I'm new!
Yes, I've had a lot of experiences in life. We all have in different ways.
But, in the publishing world, I'm still learning to toddle along.
I looked at the examples set by my fellow authors and I can see where I need to improve!
So - what adjustments am I making in 2013?
1. I'm adjusting my core target audience.
In hindsight, I can see where/how I didn't get my 'core followers' quite right for 2012. So, I've started to restructure my twitters, blogs, releases etc. (The results have - already - been very encouraging). Seeing the early response - I'm keen to see where it leads.
2. Advertising.
You have to be very selective as to who/where you advertise. Costs/time/availability all come into it.
But Remember - one or two positive outlets are far better than a whole load of adverts elsewhere that won't reach the right audience.
So this year - I'm being very selective! Both for the forthcoming Cambion release, AND for the next book in the Guardian Series. (I'd love to tell you now...ha ha! But you'll have to wait and see).
3. I'll improve the personal touch.
Sometimes, 'being there' counts for so much! For me, that's quite difficult. I live on a small island and am quite cut off. However, even here on KOS, I noticed that when I got out there...(Holding book release/signing venues/radio interviews/personal appearance's at bookshops etc) - it had a huge impact.
So - I'm expanding! I have at least one very public event lined up in the UK with one of the charities I support over a three day period...(More on that another time), and...I'm starting to hunt for a sutable venue over in the US!
If the UK event goes well, I shall ensure to do something way across the water...(And keep you posted of course) !
4. look after your fans!
You'll soon start to notice who your followers are. Look after them. This year I hope to start including some of them within my blog as to how they enjoy some of the prizes/events we hold etc...and ensure to include their reviews more too!
5. Learn more from my fellow/more experienced authors. 
Pagan Writers Press has some great authors. I keep abreast of what's happening in their lives, and obviously, how well they're doing. Of course, by keeping in touch, I begin to notice what they do when new releases are coming up. What they do after release. How they maintain that interest and generate new readers. And I LEARN from it. I think that...this year...I shall do that even more closely.
Staying loyal to your friends is important. Learning from them is fun. You never know when you might need their support in the future and what beneficial effects that might have in the longrun.
So - there's a busy year ahead.
Hard work is involved.
Will it be worth it?
Stay tuned - and I'll let you know :)