Welcome to my January Writer’s Tips. In this month’s edition of posts I hand picked from my reading trails, I’ve found some informative articles for writers from authors, Natalie Ducey – how to add weblinks on #Instagram, publishing predictions for 2022 by agent Laurie McLean at the blog of Anne R. Allen, ideas for promoting sequels on #Bookbub, book promotion blunders by Kathy Steinemann, and, how to use dashes in fiction by Louise Harnby.
Natalie Ducey has a helpful tutorial on how to add weblinks on #Instagram
Anne R. Allen, guest writer, agent Laurie McLean shares her predictions for the publishing world 2022
12 Clever ideas for promoting sequels on Bookbub
Fiction editor and proofreader, Louise Harnby shares, how to use dashes in fiction for both U.S. and U.K.
Welcome to my December edition of Writer’s Tips. In this last edition for 2021, I’m sharing some great information and tools to help with creating social media posts, QR codes for books, Twitter, and editing tips.
Hugh Roberts demonstrates why every blogger should be using the ‘pinned tweet’ option on Twitter, also, how to draft a blog post
Welcome to my last Q & A post for 2021. I know I have been sparse this year with Q & A features due to my world turning upside down, but I couldn’t end off the year without sharing the news here from one of my oldest blogging friends, Deborah Jay, who has just released Book 4 in her 5 Kingdoms series – The Prince’s Heir.
About Deborah Jay:
Deborah Jay writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.
Fortunate to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.
She has a dream day job riding, training, and judging, competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.
A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE
PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR, released December 14th 2021.
Read the gripping conclusion to The Five Kingdoms series…
King Marten’s reign balances on a blade’s edge. Chel’s Casket, symbol of his right to rule, is missing. Can master spies, Rustam and Risada, recover it before someone notices its absence and challenges Marten’s sovereignty? Or is there a more sinister motive behind the disappearance of the casket—a relic that could be used to raise the demon god, Charin.
As a series of natural disasters besets the kingdoms, evidence points towards interference by the meddlesome deity, and the terrifying prospect of war between its two opposing aspects.
When Marten’s beloved wife, Betha, and their infant daughter vanish, Marten faces a stark choice: save his family, or try to save his kingdom from a conflict that threatens all humanity.
Excerpt from Prince’s Heir
“Risada,” said Marten in a tone that sent ice crawling down her spine. “There’s something we didn’t tell you last year. We thought it would never be an issue once we’d destroyed Charin’s Cult.”
The king paused, pursing his lips. Blood pounded through Risada’s head, filling the silence. She felt nauseous. What had they kept from her, and why?
Marten drew a deep breath, then continued. “You know they wanted our child. What you don’t know is that things came to a head when you returned with Halson. Charin wanted a child of the royal bloodline, and it seems Hal’s would have satisfied Him as much as mine.”
Risada gripped the back of a nearby chair, clinging to that spot of reality in a world turned hazy.
Halson! Charin wanted her son!
A fierce rush of protectiveness blasted through her. She would die before she allowed that to happen. Staring into Marten’s eyes, she saw the same intent reflected there. Of course, he and Betha had been willing to sacrifice themselves before, and now he feared Betha might be forced to make that call again.
“We won’t let it come to that; I promise.” She took one of his hands and squeezed it, but he shrugged and disengaged his grip.
“Sadly, that’s not something you can promise. Not where Charin’s involved. I’ve faced Him, remember? I was lucky to survive, and I don’t give much for my chances if it comes to a rerun.”
“Marten.” Risada employed the same tone she used when Halson was being difficult. “You’re not alone in this. You will never be alone to deal with such an attack again; that I can promise.
Let’s get to know more about Deb’s writing and dressage life in our Q & A session:
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?
Nine so far, plus novellas and short stories. Two non-fiction books on horse training (my day job), one SF (not published), five epic fantasy (one not published) and one urban fantasy. The unpublished books were where I cut my writer’s teeth, learning about plot, pace, and technique. One day I’d love to revisit them, but with so many other projects on the go, who knows if I’ll find the time?
My favorite book will always be the last one I finished. If you are anything like me, as we write more books our style changes, develops and (hopefully) improves. I am still proud as punch of my first published novel – THE PRINCE’S MAN – which in the early days before self-publishing, netted me two agents and a slew of positive feedback from the Big Six (as they were in those days) publishers, although no contract. Now, I’m really happy it didn’t sell – I would never have been allowed to write the sequels the way they’ve turned out, and I wouldn’t have control of my own career.
D.G. – You’ve certainly come a long way my busy friend. And yes, you are spot on, the more books we write, of course, our styles change as we learn new things. How many of us would like to go back and rewrite all our published books? Lol 🙂
What’s your opinion on self-publishing?
As a hybrid author – both traditionally and indie published – I can definitely say the latter is far and away my preferred route. Not only do I get to write what I want, when I want, I also earn a markedly higher percentage of the income from my indie published books (70% from Amazon, 60% from some other platforms, paid each month) than I do from my trad published books (10% from my publisher, paid annually).
Sure, traditional publishers can get you into bricks-and-mortar stores, but that’s far less important since Covid struck, closing so many, or forcing them to sell online. Publishers also have extremely limited funds available for marketing, and contracted authors are expected to do most of the grunt work themselves – marketing, networking, selling in person, etc. – so I’d rather put my efforts into my indie books for a higher return.
D.G. – My sentiments exactly Deb. And I’ve heard same thoughts from a few different authors who left trad to take control of their own books. 🙂
Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?
I don’t know about a passion, I just always assumed I would write. It seemed the natural progression – read other people’s stuff, then write your own.
As a child, comics took my interest, and my earlier attempts at writing were accompanied by awful illustrations (I’m no artist). When my mother died a couple of years ago, in amongst her papers (she was also a writer) I found what must be my earliest attempt, aged about 6 – ‘The travels of Sammy Snail – Scotland here I come’. Weirdly prophetic, as at that time I had never been to Scotland, nor had any of my family, and yet that’s precisely where I now live.
After that, came ‘The Adventures of Galloper’, another illustrated comic book, and then ‘Samantha the Adventurous Poodle’, a novel which failed at chapter 3 because it had no plot!
D.G. – What a gorgeous find! I know you have tons on your plate and agenda, but wouldn’t it be fun if you revised and published her work in a children’s book someday, authored by both of you? Food for thought. 🙂
Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?
While this week’s release brings to a conclusion the main story of one set of characters, I still have plenty of other tales to tell about them. One of the best aspects of self-publishing is the option to publish books of any size. I already wrote one short story that fits in between books #1 & #2, with another underway. I plan to write a set of them, with the ultimate goal of gathering them into a book of their own.
I have also plotted out and started a novella, telling the back story of a minor character who grew to become a major force in books #3 & 4. In addition, years ago, I wrote the novel that takes place before this set, so I plan on going back and rewriting that to a publishable standard too.
Beyond that, I have a rough outline for the next sequence of books, featuring the next generation. I’ve set up a lot of worldbuilding ready for them to walk right into, so, although the over-arching plot appears to end in book #4, it has a lot further to go – I’m thinking maybe 10 books in all?
Next up is putting together a boxset of books #1 – #4, and start editing for audiobook production – something I still have to dip my toe in. I also have one novel and a short story published in an urban fantasy series, with 6 chapters of the next book already done and just waiting for me to pick it up again.
Finally (as if that lot wasn’t enough!), I am currently writing a commissioned non-fiction book on horse training to go with the two already published, and sketching out two new in-person presentations now we are allowed to do such things again.
I’m certainly never short of stuff to do!
D.G. – You’re a machine girl! I hate to add to your plate, but I was hoping you would come out with a sequel to Desprite Measures with your Cassie character. 🙂
Do you edit and proofread your own work solely or do you hire an editor?
I’m really fortunate to have worked with an awesome writer’s group for many years – thirty, to be precise! Members have come and gone, but the core has remained. New members have to put in an audition piece, so we can assess the standard of their writing. If we feel they aren’t ready to join us yet we point them towards where they can find more basic help to develop.
The group consists of (almost) exclusively published authors – some short fiction writers, some novelists. We do include a uni student, reading creative writing (what else?), but fundamentally we all write professional pieces that sell. We used to meet in person once a month, now we do it on Zoom, which means a couple of former members who moved away have rejoined.
One of the best aspects is that between us we cover a wide range of professions and interests, such as a medical doctor, a computer programmer, a travel writer, and a stand-up comic! Between the lot of us, we’re pretty darned good at the whole gamut of editing. And knowing we will all be on the receiving end at some point, we’ve become well practiced at constructive critiquing – the best sort of group.
D.G. – Sounds like a great plan and a wonderful and eclectic bunch of writers! 🙂
What was the inspiration behind the series you’ve just completed?
I was always frustrated that the super-spy, James Bond, was never allowed (until now!) to develop as a character. Enter my leading man, Rustam Chalice – a shallow, womanizing, spy. During THE PRINCE’S MAN, alongside the action and politics, everything he thought he knew is challenged and proven to be false, bringing about profound changes to his life, which continues to develop through the entire series.
I chose a fantasy setting partly because of my love for Lord of the Rings, but also because of the incredible scope available to my imagination. I can do whatever I want with the world (provided it’s consistent and makes sense), which allows me to put my characters through a crucible unlike anything they would experience in a real-world setting.
Out of these two things came tagline for the series: Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings.
D.G. – Brilliant concept! 🙂
It was a pleasure having you over today Deb. I wish you much success with your new release, and no doubts the Prince’s Man fans for this series are anxiously awaiting this new release.
I am thrilled and excited to share this post by Rebecca Budd of Tea Toast & Trivia. Rebecca interviewed me a little while ago and I was delighted to come across the post she wrote with the podcast audio attached. I hope you will listen.
Season 3 Episode 50: Debby Gies on Being an Eclectic Memoirist and Conversationalist
I am your host, Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.
I am delighted that blogger and non-fiction writer, Debby Gies and I are connecting Toronto and Vancouver, Canada.
Debby is a Canadian author, writing under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. Her intent is to inspire others by sharing her stories about events she has encountered, and the lessons that have come along with them.
Debby is an empathetic fashionista and shopper extraordinaire who loves to laugh. She is an eclectic memoirist and conversationalist who writes to empower by sharing slices of life. Her blog is a wide-ranging mix of randomness, where you will find anything from writing tips to tales from the past, to travel tips, book reviews, and author interviews.
I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia.
Thank you for joining Debby and me on Tea Toast & Trivia.
And a special thank you, Debby, for sharing your insights on living life in the now, with humour and expectation. You have inspired me, and I know that you have inspired readers and listeners to head into the unknown with courage and determination.
I invite you to meet up with Debby on her blog, D.G. Kaye Writer.com , on her Amazon Page and on Goodreads. It is a place that welcomes profound conversations that reminds us to Live, Love, Laugh and Breathe.
Until next time, dear friends, keep safe, keep reading and be well.
Welcome to October edition of Writer’s Tips. In today’s post I’m sharing a new author scam alert, Seven S’s of writing Memoir, problems for authors who didn’t move their books themselves to Amazon, a tutorial on how to add video to Canva, marketing with Google, reusable block making on the Gutenberg editor, and two invitations where you can promote your books.
First one is a brand new author Scam Alert. Anne R. Allen keeps us abreast the latest scams and book steals. Today she shares the danger of Facebook, and advice on choosing an Editor who won’t scam.
Welcome back to my ‘Let’s Have a Look’ series. Where I post on a topic or incidence I come across that triggers a need to share and/or respond from me.
So in this post, my curiosity was sparked one night as I was checking out an author’s book when I saw him interviewed on TV – Salman Rushdie, to be precise. Well, when something catches my ear, I like to have a look around Amazon for their books, and if the blurb grabs me, I then go right to reviews (See! That’s how important reviews are ) which always give me a better insight as to what to expect from the book.
Sure, reviews are opinions, but when you read quite a few, you get a general consensus and better feel of what the book is really about, a better assessment to learn whether or not the book is a good fit for us. Now, there’s always going to be the odd, usually unjustified low star review for a mostly 4 and 5 star rated book, that’s inevitable, just ask an author. But often, those reviews will stick out like a sore thumb among all the golden reviews because often, when that happens, a reader doesn’t care for the genre (of which they should have checked first, again, that’s what real reviews are for) or they may be disgruntled at the seller in actuality because they weren’t happy with their delivery. Or quite possibly, some just won’t always like our books, our writing styles, our subject matter – you get the drift. Reviews are personal and yet, when the majority of them are either high stars or low stars among scattered opposites, that’s generally a good indicator of the happiness factor of the book.
So I digress (as usual), but what I was initially getting at is, before I buy a book, I don’t just want to read the author’s blurb, I want to get a feel for what others got out of the book, what they liked or loved or didn’t, to help boost my decision to want to read that book.
I love reading reviews, they tell me what I want to know about a book and often help my decision to either read or not read, regardless if it’s free or not. I have enough books on my Kindle right now to last me the rest of my life, lol. I don’t need to fatten it up with books I’ll probably never read when everything on there are all books I want to read.
So anyway, digressing again, from reading reviews, I sometimes come along a review that I find so refreshingly honest and somewhat more is not less, and quirky, but nonetheless, an insight or two not usually repeated in other reviews making it all the more genuine. So I thought it would be fun to highlight one of these interesting comments I came across that caught my interest. It was what prompted me to write this post while checking out Rushdie’s books, of which I’m familiar about his writings, but have yet to read one of his books. And after reading several reviews for one particular book I was looking at, I came across this one:
This almost sounds like something I’d write, because I find Rushdie’s books so deep sometimes I get lost. I can so relate, especially the highlighted parts I’ll discuss after ‘Erb’s’ review for Salman Rushdie’s novel, Quichotte.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
Quichotte is a love story of profound tenderness and humanity from a great storyteller at his brilliant best. Wise, beautifully written, as heartbreaking as it is wildly comic, its characters unforgettable, its plot dazzlingly suspenseful, it illuminates our corrupt times where fact is so often indiscernible from fiction.
Quichotte, an aging travelling salesman obsessed with TV, is on a quest for love. Unfortunately, his daily diet of reality TV, sitcoms, films and soaps has distorted his ability to separate fantasy from reality. He wishes an imaginary son, Sancho, into existence, while obsessively writing love letters to a celebrity he knows only through his screen. Together the two innocents set off across America in Quichotte’s trusty Chevy Cruze to find her and convince her of his love.
Quichotte’s story is told by Sam DuChamp, a mediocre spy novelist in the midst of a midlife crisis, and as the stories of DuChamp and Quichotte intertwine, we are taken on a wild, picaresque journey through a familiar country on the edge of moral and spiritual collapse.
“In 1989, I tried to read Satanic Verses, and while years later I sort of got through it, it was at such a low level of comprehension that I should be embarrassed to even use the word “read” in this context.
So a few years after that and I was offered this review copy of Rushdie’s new book, and I decided I’m a smart person now, and very well read, and I can certainly appreciate Salman Rushdie’s obvious writing skills as who I am today.
The answer remains “no, I can not.” That’s entirely my fault – my interests are nonfiction or fairly straightforward fiction as opposed to experimental or stylistic fiction like Rushdie has generally been known for. No doubt one of his books would prepare me for his style in a slightly more accessible way but I haven’t read it. I probably should give “Joseph Anton” a try.
So this reminded me of Marlon James “A Brief History of Seven Killings” that was hugely praised and award winning and that I totally couldn’t connect with no matter how hard I tried. In a similar vein with this book, I tried to start at the beginning, then I tried to start in the middle, and I tried to jump around and I couldn’t figure out what was going on, or even what I was supposed to be thinking.
Look – I did not give it any sort of truly honest effort. I gave up. It was too hard, too detailed, too stylized – it demanded an investment from the reader that I am simply not prepared to give. So if you think I sound like you, then you’re probably not going to be the audience for this book.
But – if you’re ANGRY at me, and you think I’m a big joke and an uneducated lazy rube – THEN maybe the book IS for you, because you’re the type of reader who will go into Rushdie with your eyes wide open in a way that I didn’t.
So I tried, I failed, maybe I’ll try again one day, but this book’s just not for me.
I’m giving it four stars because OBVIOUSLY he can write at a supreme quality – I would say every sentence went through ten drafts. Any oblique meaning on his part is totally intentional – he wants this to be an off-kilter Don Quitote experience…so it’s no accident. It IS well-done, but it is NOT for casual readers or the hoi polloi like me.”
Now that’s what I call honest, with good explanation about why it wasn’t for them, not that it was a bad book, but not their type of read. Praise was given to the author and a 4 star rating, despite. All round, I think this was a great review. It told me what I wanted to know about the readability factor. And I, like this reviewer, don’t have the appreciation for ‘too detailed, too stylized’, may be brilliant prose from a brilliant writer, but I like meat and heart, analyzing characters and the thrill of a page turner and not having to work so hard to find the meaning.
So, what do you all look for before purchasing a book by an author you haven’t read before?
Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m thrilled to review Colleen Chesebro’s latest book – Word Craft Prose & Poetry – The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry. If you are a lover of poetry writing, I would highly recommend this book. You’ll have to read my review below to find out why!
Are you ready to learn how to craft Japanese and American poetry? Consider this book the first step on your journey to learning the basics of how to craft syllabic poetry. Inside, you will discover many new forms, syllable combinations, and interpretations of the different Japanese and American forms and structures of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, renga/solo renga, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, the cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry.
So… what are you waiting for? Let’s craft syllabic poetry together!
My 5 Star Review:
If you’re a lover of poetry and are interested in learning how to write syllabic poetry, or even just as a reader to discover all that’s involved in writing in the various styles of syllabic poetry, this is the book for you. Yes, there are plenty of books written on the subject for sure, but this author has a gift of born ‘teaching’. Her tutorials on how to, as well as great direction in explanations and wonderful use of examples allow us to clearly see what the author is explaining.
Syllabic poetry encompasses various styles and syllabic counts with succinct descriptions, from both the English and Japanese style of writing Haiku. The author explains the differences in syllabic counts to various versions of Haiku, as well as teaching us the difference between poetic prose which requires no syllabic count, such as Gogyolka or Tanka Prose. We’ll also learn about many of the various forms of Haiku and Tanka with Haibun, which styles are written from a personal point of view, and writing about nature.
Chesebro takes us through all the various forms of writing syllabic poetry and shares with us the importance of writing poetry, “When we create poetry, we become better writers.” She goes on to explain that we learn from poetry, the brevity of words, urging us to use stronger word choices with minimal words that evoke vivid images. A wonderful guide book to introduce us to the meaning of syllabic poetry and the differences between Japanese and American Haiku. This author runs a weekly poetry challenge that I urge anyone interested in learning to write poetry from the basics and forward to visit her blog.
Welcome to September edition of Writer’s Tips. In this edition it’s chock full of goodies for authors. Author Marketing and a new series open for writers from Sally Cronin. Anne R. Allen keeps us up to date on scams against authors. Ruth Harris on writing the danged blurb. How to structure memoir using storyboard. Harmony Kent on writing in 2nd person, and a warning to check your Google extensions so you aren’t auto-opted in to their exploitive policy.
Sally Cronin with her Podcast on Marketing for Authors – Using social Media