May 3rd

Limits ... where are they today? The

By Old Fat Prop

I am dragging out from dusty memory sticks, portable hard dirves, and lost files the various incarnations of Brotherhood of the Lost due to the prop-ability that I have won/lost the cheese comp and will self publish an E book I have abandoned and send half the net to GOSH as a charitable donation. (Careful to not have a public link between GOSH donations to the sales of the book).

Within these files are quotes from various real people me included, which include various and many coloquial terms which the civilized world considers racist, sexist, and probably vile... but they are an accurate representation of certain events and reactions.

It is odd to note that I i am now aware of these sensibilities in most people. 

I was going to post a bit up on Forum as bait and then develop this debate in the aftermath but you deserve a break from me provoking you guys with shock and awww tactics and instead I will just ask the question of your opinions. 

Obviously the target audience of this is not Marry Poppins but first off wriitng has a way of labeling and this stuff is a world away from Rucksack Chronicles, Prop's Pubs, Mudflat Tales and The White Van Chronicles....

 

What say you, of this dilema and your own? At what limits are you comfortable with and do your limits compromise the accuracy/authenticity of your work?

 

 

 

Apr 30th

Yay! The Pimlico Kid gets five stars from Literary Lightbox

By Loretta Milan

 

Yay! Ending April on a high with a five-star book review of The Pimlico Kid by Barry Walsh. Definitely the highlight of my month!

Read the full book review and hear what Barry has to say about his journey to publication and beyond here...

www.literarylightbox.com/the-pimlico-kid-book-review

Hope you enjoy it!

Loretta.

Apr 30th

Sindy and the Antibiotics

By Edward Picot

Sindy image
A Dr Hairy picture-book, in full colour, on lovely glossy paper!  Made using Inkscape and The Gimp, and published via Lulu.com.
 
Sindy's Mum keeps taking her to see Dr Hairy with minor ailments, and asking for antibiotics. Dr Hairy tries to explain that antibiotics aren't always required for minor ailments, and that over-using them can help to cause antibiotic resistance, but without success. Then one day, instead of Dr Hairy, they meet a handsome GP called Dr Smoothie...

To download a preview of the book in .pdf format, go to http://edwardpicot.com/sindy(cover).pdf and http://edwardpicot.com/sindy(interior).pdf .

Or if you fancy  a copy for £12, go to http://www.drhairy.org/concrete5/index.php/catalogue/ .
 
- Edward Picot
http://edwardpicot.com - personal website

Apr 29th

Tax Tips for UK Writers - Published, Un-published, Self-published

By Accounts and Legal

Money troubles are high on the list of obstructions to a successful writing career. Whether you are a published, self-published, or even an un-agented aspiring author, there are some simple ways to ease the financial burden, and perhaps give yourself more focus at the same time.

I work for an accounting firm, and recently wrote an article with practical tax tips for UK writers: Tax Tips for Writers

If you make or plan to make an income from your writing, you may be able to claim back tax for your writing expenses. This article explains and runs through your potential allowable expenses.

For new writers, I believe finishing a manuscript often comes down to taking yourself seriously. You should always write because you love it, and write what you want to write. But perhaps, if you read this and decide to treat your writing as a business, you might find the discipline to get that draft done.

Sorry for being a company invading private space. I hope this is helpful and wish everyone the best of luck with their writing endeavours. 

Apr 29th

Review in SFX Magazine for The Waterborne Blade

By SusanM

Short and sweet, this one: my debut fantasy novel The Waterborne Blade has been reviewed in this month's issue of SFX Magazine – Issue 261. The main point of interest here is that the review closes with the factoid that I met both 'agent and editor during one-to-one pitch sessions at York's Festival of Writing'.

Not too shabby! Writers' Workshop and the festival played a huge role in encouraging me to get my work out there, so it's lovely to see it being noted.

The novel is due for release next week from Angry Robot Books.

 

 

Apr 27th

Beta-readers. Gotta love 'em

By Manny

Hi, Manny here (long time reader, first time blogger)

I recently completed my first book. (Hoorah for me!)

It can be viewed here: (Click here)

(Or here as I can never get those linky things to work: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diary-Driven-Around-Africa-People-ebook/dp/B00UU1J52S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426770373&sr=8-2&keywords=lance+cross)

It took a lot of time, effort, a self-editing course and a few beta-readers, but I got there in the end.

I found the singly most annoying, dispiriting, useful and uplifting aspect of the whole process involved the beta-readers, so it's this topic I am going to bore you with today.

My first and most obvious piece of advice is get some. They are really, really useful.

It's not always easy to find or convince someone to read an entire draft of a book just because you claim you've written one so a lot of the time you'll find your first victim is a family member.

My first beta-reader was my twin brother. He lives 12,000 miles away in New Zealand so I figured if he didn't like it he would tell me by email or Skype but wouldn't have to break the bad news to me face to face. (I refused to turn the Skype video option on when we eventually had 'the conversation'.)

That conversation didn't go nearly as badly as I thought it would and he did an excellent job of pointing out what was wrong with it. He made a lot of valid points although it was like shooting fish in a barrel, as it was a first draft, and so naturally it was a big steaming pile. Once he'd  pointed out the deficiencies I was gob-smacked at how bad it was compared to how good I thought it was. (This was before I learn the mantra 'your first draft is shit', although the next five weren't so hot either.)

So, after some flushing I gave it to my Kiwi friend in Sweden. (The fact he lives in Sweden doesn't make him a better critiquer than had he been in Scunthorpe, he just happens to live in Sweden.) Being a typical Kiwi male I managed to get a series of grunts out of him and if I asked very, very specific questions I got some very, very specific answers. Again, what he said made perfect sense and helped make the next draft better. (If you can't speak Kiwi-grunt I'd advise you not to bother soliciting advise from the male of the species, it's probably more trouble than it's worth.)

It was at this point I learnt that when you give someone a book to read you have to tell them that you're waiting for them to give you a critique so the one thing they have to do is actually read it.

I'm sure anyone reading this who has given someone their novel-in-waiting will know what I am talking about. People tend to think once they've agreed to be a beta-reader and have the book in their possession that half the work is done. It's not: they have to read it. And they have to read it in a timely fashion.

I might be demanding but I'm not unreasonable. I don't expect you to have taken days off work or stayed up throughout the night to finish it but I do expect to have it back within six months of me giving to you.

I honestly don't think that non-writers realise that when we give something to them for comment we're then waiting for them to comment. Waiting, as in, needing them to get off their arses and do something.

So, my second piece of advise is tell your beta-reader you want them to read it, sort of like now, rather than later (but in a nice, non-threatening way).

My next step was looking for other writers, thinking they would understand. To this end I found a willing reader (Claire) on another writing site. She was based in Singapore, and English wasn't her first language. I thought this might have been a problem but she only had trouble with a couple of slang words but not with the story itself, which gave me some encouragement.

Around the same time I started up a group on the Cloud for people wanting to swap entire novels for reading and critiquing. I knew that it would be a short-lived group, as they all tend to be, but it did allow me to swap with Richard (whose story was a about a haunted house in Wales) and Jane (who wrote about a doctor being stalked in LA).

I stayed in regular contact with Claire and I bugged Jane on an almost a daily basis with rewrites and ideas. They were both kind enough to read another draft.

Getting Claire and Jane onboard gave me the female perspective and they had a lot of input into the finished product. The book is more blokey than chic-lit but I wanted a book that could be enjoyed by both sexes (or at least not outright hated by one).

During all this I also had some professional (paid-for) help.

Near the end of 2013 the Philippines was hit by a huge typhoon not long after being struck by a massive earthquake. An on-line auction was set up whereby authors auctioned off books, critiques, and anything else an author could auction to raise money for the Red Cross. I won more of these auctions than I intended, which allowed me to get a couple partial critiques and two full critiques. I ended up getting a range of services I couldn't have afforded otherwise ( which was nice for me, but a lot of suffering had to occur in the Philippines for that to be possible.)

(Late Edit: I have had so many people reading bits and bobs that I completely forgot that Moira from my self-editing course also read the entire thing. Doh! Sorry Moira.)

So, that was seven eight beta-readers who read the entire thing (and two of them read it twice).

Was it enough?

Yes, I think it was.

There were overlapping areas of concern and agreement on what not to change. And of course, there were wildly various opinions on everything else.

I changed, I rejected, and I accepted.

And I kept writing.

I stopped when the story was told. I didn't try and stick to a timetable and I didn't stick to a word count. Although I knew I didn't want to keep writing it for years and years, and that if I got over 85,000 words I would be happy. It ended at 94,300 words, because that's what it needed.

So to sum up:

Get beta-readers

Have them from difference sexes

Have them from difference backgrounds

Tell them the responsibilities of being a beta-reader

And don't rely on natural disasters to occur at just the right time 

Apr 27th

Cloudies

By Bren

You know you really are a fantastic group of people. Do you think there would ever be a chance of a gathering of the clan down Dorset way one fine day? It's obvious that is the only way I'm ever going to meet you. 

Apr 27th

Prop... The Dark Side..

By Old Fat Prop

One of Her-indoors' fruit bat mates is into personality profiling, life coaching and counselling ... and every time I speak to her, I make her cry... 

I actually enjoy it...  which makes me worse,'which makes me enjoy it even more.

She once asked which film or book characters I most identified with and why?

i replied William Mony in Unforgiven for reasons I will not dwell on here.

i also replied Gordon Gecko from Wall Street... Because he hates to lose.

and so do I. So much so, that I avoid competing with people I like...

This is why I self DQ in the monthly comps and avoid competing in general...

Aside from fruit bats's nightmares and my own perga-stories.. I have entered an off cloud  comp, against my worse nature... and better judgement.

 

i have analysed the completion and although they are lesser creatures. Tony excepted, they have mobilised that satan's sword which is social media in order to move their stories to the top of the popular list.

And so, I ask all Cloudies to vote for me or tony on this and smite these pretenders to the cheese crown. Mobilise your farce books and exert and extort your twits to win this.

 

If I win, I will donate all proceeds to Great Ormond Street Hospital... and I will finish and self pub Brotherhood of the Lost in 12 months and give half of net to GOSH. 

.... And if we lose, I'll burn their godamed houses down and shoot their horses.

 

why Great Ormond Street Hospital?  ... because they didn't give up on a lost cause... 

I get that.

http://competition.rubbercheese.com/stories/index/page:3?sort=popular

Apr 26th

Headline writing - be careful.

By AlanP

Sorry, I just had to share this careless moment from the local Northamptonshire news; concerning Kirby Hall.

"A stately home that launched an appeal for peahens to mate with its "frustrated" peacocks has said it hopes to welcome some chicks this summer."

Just priceless.

Apr 25th

Froggy Fiasco at a Book Launch!

By Squidge

Today, I launched my second Granny Rainbow book.

Here's what we got up to at the party if you're interested.

And there are several cloudies who deserve a mention for helping me get this far: Stephen Mark, Skylark, Noodledoodle, Secret Spi, BlueDiamondMist, Jody Klaire, and Debi. Afraid you'll have to read the acknowledgements to see exactly how they helped, but I'm sending them all a massive cloudie hug. Couldn't have got teh book to where it is without each of you.

And if you want to order a copy, please do! Details on the blog...

Right, I'm off to celebrate with a glass of something chilled and a pizza. 

 

 

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