Tag Archive: indies


Morning peeps!

And here we are with barely ten days to Christmas, with a very seasonal post for you!

For the English, Christmas means Pantomime season, and panto is so much a part of the national psyche that for me it was a real surprise to find out that they don’t do pantomime all over the world, but apparently so.

For those of you who have never experienced the madness of panto, you are about to meet one of the great phenomena of Englishness… If you haven’t a clue what we’re on about, shout and we’ll explain what pantomime is and what the conventions are!

So without further ado (and not too much heckling from the back), let me  hand over to Lexi who will introduce the main character’s for tonight’s entertainment….

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PANTOMINE SEASON IN PUBLISHING

It’s the pantomime season – who were the heroes, villains and pantomime dames of the literary world in 2011? It’s a matter of opinion, so take your pick from the following suggestions.

  •  Look out, he’s BEHIND you! Amazon is the big bad villain, twirling his moustache and swirling his cape. Counts against him this year: stealing the livelihood of bookshops (many of them small, local and independent), seducing innocent young indies with the evil KDP Select scheme, banning innocuous authors from their forums, and generally attempting world dominance in a manner worthy of a Bond villain. Publishers had never noticed indies were making them money, until nasty Amazon wanted to keep them all to itself. Boo! In November, famously nice Michael Palin criticized Amazon – nuff said.
  •  And swarming behind Amazon, alarming many a blogger, are the Orc-like hordes of self-publishers, who have the temerity to seek readers – even though they have been told frequently by the gatekeepers to Go Away, their writing is Not Good Enough, and certainly can’t compete with the likes of Katie Price or Pippa Middleton. They are also known as the Tsunami of Crap, through which desperate readers will be forced to wade in search of a decent read.
  •  Cinderella: she is every indie author with a good book the traditional publishing industry won’t touch, drooping disconsolately and patronized by passing literary agents. She keeps writing because she has to. Wash off the cinders, and she does not look all that different from the lucky elite who do have invitations to the publishing ball.
  •  Fairy Godmother: the Kindle, without which Cinderella would not have been able to go to the ball. There are other, lesser fairies around, but their light is dimmed by Fairy Kindle. Watch out for Fairy Fire, surely coming soon to the UK, Fairy Nook, and Fairy Kobo, to be found in WH Smith’s.
  •  Prince Charming: Appearing now in Good Cop guise, it’s Amazon again, who scoops indie author Cinderella from her hopeless situation and enables her to sell her books, sometimes in rather large numbers. Sad to say, Prince Amazon is not in love with Cinders; his eye is fixed firmly on the bottom line. He believes she will contribute to his wealth and standing in the kingdom. She will stick with him as in spite of all his faults, he promises her a brighter future than…
  •  Buttons: Mark Coker, proprietor of Smashwords, helping Cinders with her chores, wanting to share his humble home with her, but ultimately not offering anything like as much as the Prince.
  •  Whoever that character was who offered Jack five beans in exchange for his cow: Penguin, with their scheme to take advantage of indie authors by volunteering to format and load their books to KDP for a mere $549 plus 30% of their profits in perpetuity. And Penguin’s beans won’t turn out to be magic, either.
  •  Pantomime dame: Katie Price, best selling novelist, an ornament to Random House’s author list.
  •  Pantomime horse: Authonomy, which some of us believed was a racehorse when it first appeared. We were wrong. Sorry, Scott Pack, but does anyone take it seriously any more? What, exactly, has it achieved in three years, except to waste a great deal of its members time?

Do you agree with my choices – have I missed anyone? Whom would you suggest?

Lexi

Replica UK    Replica US    Remix UK      Remix US

www.lexirevellian.com

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So, what do you think? Do you agree, disagree, or need explanation? Many thanks to Lexi for that, and do weigh in and let us know who your own candidates would be!

Any thoughts?

JAC

Morning, peeps and welcome to the weekend!

First things first; as you all know, we were hoping to have ODS2 out over Christmas. This is now looking more like New Year as my super editors are getting a bit booked up and won’t be able to scalpel it until between Christmas and New Year. This in turn means the ebook will be out in January, but it is now looking as if the paperback could be as late as summer.

Apols to those of you who are not yet possessed of an e-reader, but you are going to have to wait a bit more – and I know you’d rather we took the time and gave you something perfect than rushed through it and made a shoddy book. (Besides you know how anal I am, I CAN’T do that!!)

In the meantime though, Christmas Lites is available on Amazon.com, Createspace and Smashwords and will hopefully make it across to Amazon.co.uk at some point. I just got and read my copy and the stories are fantastic!! There’s a LOT of talent gone into that book….

However, that’s by the by. Moving on to the main blog of the day, this week we have an interview with another member of the Creative Reviews group, Shane Porteous. Shane has a new release out and asked if the readers might be interested in reading about it, and as I know there are a few werewolf fans amongst you, here for your delectation, are some details about Shane and his new book.

Name: Shane Porteous

Author of: How Gods Bleed, Grave Caller, Rasciss

Cover of "How Gods Bleed" by Shane Porteous

  Genre/s: Dark Fantasy

  P- or e-book: both

  Available from: Smashwords

  One-sentence summary: How Gods Bleed is a werewolf and warrior horror/fantasy story

  One-sentence biog: I am a huge Manga and  Anime fan that also likes documentaries and professional wrestling.

 Links:
 Email; authorofrasciss@yahoo.com.au
    Facebook   YouTube

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When you write do you have a routine or habit?

I make sure that I write every single day, usually a two-page minimum. I allow myself to write more than that if the muse is calling, but the rule is more for those days when you really don’t feel like writing. It just makes sure that your novel gets written. As for a routine, no; sometimes I will write first thing, other days in the afternoon and occasionally late at night. Doing it that way prevents it from feeling like a regular job.

What kicks off the book- a character, a situation, a plot-point?

All of the above, it often depends on what book I want to write. Sometimes it is all about the story and what kinds of characters are needed to tell that story, but other times it is about a character. When I was a young teenager and was coming up with characters left and right I decided to put them into a loose mythology so I would have them all on paper. Every now and again I will skim through this mythology and become reacquainted with a character I invented years ago. Sometimes I will say to myself “This character deserves his or her own novel,” so I build a story around that character.

What made you want to write this story?

I don’t think want is the right word, more like I had to write it in order to move on creatively. I already had plenty of stories that I had tried to write for years, but no matter which of these stories I tried my mind kept pulling me back to How Gods Bleed. So finally I gave in and began writing it.

What was the most difficult about it?

The fact that there were just so many ideas. It was really difficult to make any sense of it – there were probably two dozen major changes to the plot! When I finally decided on one of them I soon realized that it would not work and was forced to go back to the drawing board, so to speak. Eventually though the final plot shone through.

Do you have a favorite character?

Interestingly when I was shaping How Gods Bleed in my mind there were a handful of characters that at one time or another were going to be either the main character or the main antagonist. The character of Gokkus for example was going to be the story’s main antagonist; I changed his character ever so slightly and now he is one of the supporting protagonists. He changed from this very tragic and troubled soul to a very proud and honorable man. Aneeku was going to be the main character but when that particular plot fell through I wasn’t going to put him in the book. However I liked his character design so much, that I changed his background and put him in the story as a supporting antagonist. When I thought about how to change him from a good man to an evil one I looked over his history and shaped him how I thought the original Aneeku would change if certain things happened in his past.

Who are your favorite authors?

Actually I prefer individual stories more than the authors who wrote them, but Kentaro Miura and David Gemmell are two authors whose work I enjoy tremendously.

Have you read and enjoyed any other indie authors? Who/what book?

Without a doubt that has to be Mathion: Book one of the Mavonduri Trilogy by Jeff Shanley, a sweeping epic that in many ways is a traditional fantasy story but never felt stale or predictable to me. It is the best ebook that I have ever read. It is the only novel that has directly inspired me to write a story and that is the greatest compliment one author can give another. If anyone doubts that an indie author can write a masterpiece Mathion is an ebook that will prove you wrong.

Also, though he isn’t an indie author I would just like to mention Gerald G. Griffin, author of Of Good and Evil which is the best paranormal thriller that I have ever read.

Have you any tips for other authors?

With all due respect, doesn’t be selfish, ignorant or arrogant and above all else listen/read what your potential customers are saying. If you’re going to join a sight like Goodreads or LibraryThing don’t quickly write half-assed reviews of super popular novels. These novels don’t need another review, it is boring to your potential readers. They do not need you to tell them that the sky is blue, everyone knows that Lord of The Rings is a masterpiece. Instead go onto sites like Smashwords, find unknown books by unknown authors, read and review them. Go into a bookstore and get yourself books from the discount bins. So when people come onto your profile they won’t quickly skim over it because you have done nothing more than review books everyone knows about. If you have reviewed unknown books, that gets people interested in reading your reviews, which will get them interested in you and the books you have written. It just makes you far more legit as a reader and therefore a writer.

Finally, is there anything that you would like to add?

When I finished writing How Gods Bleed I realized just how important it was to me to get feedback and opinions from readers, so I decided to make How Gods Bleed free to download. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for potential readers to get their hands on a copy.

So far I have gotten 5 star reviews on both Smashwords and Goodreads. They have been very humbling and overwhelmingly positive. To me getting feedback from readers is just as important and rewarding as royalties, because I value their opinion so much.

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So there you have it… Shane is giving away How Gods Bleed for free on Smashwords and would love you to read and review it, so all you werewolf fans, weigh in and let him know what you think!

Next week I hope to have another guest blog for you but as to who will be starring – well, you’ll have to come back and look, won’t you?!

Authors, have you noticed theKindle Store is now selling to Spain, Italy, France and Germany as well as UK and US? The first two are new… and gossip has it that Brazil is on the list for a few months time. It will be interesting to see, no?

In the meantime, I’m taking suggestions for  a New Year blog. (And it’s December – how did that happen?!)

So at New Year, what would you like to read there? Is there a specific indie author / editor / designer / person you’d like to interview? A specific subject you’d like me to write about?  Or would you simply prefer a short story, written specially for the occasion? Any thoughts? Leave me a comment and let me know….

Anyway, that’s all from me – drop by next week to find out who’ll be doing our next blog!

Take care:

JAC

Morning all –

and look what we have here! How will you recover from the excitement of not ONE but TWO new releases in ten days?! So, hopefully you all read Cambria’s story and left a review, right? (She wants to know what you think, you know). Well, just as you’re starting to look around and wonder what literary wonders you should segue onto, here for your delectation is a guest-blog by none other than CS Splitter, author of the Crayder Chronicles.

As regulars will know, Splitter is one of the more fnar-prone members of Creative Reviews and is a contributor to (not to mention the main instigator of) the Christmas Lites Anthology due out next week, so do comment, heckle, or if you feel really inspired, Tweet the link to his new book, out 21st November! I can’t comment just yet as my copy is still on the Kindle which is locked firmly in a drawer till I’ve got ODS2 out for you, but the goss down in Creative Reviews is that the Crayder Chronicles rock…. and that’s just the more critical reviews!

I have been warned by two or three persons of good judgement that Tom Crayder as a character is going to infuriate me until I accidentally end up liking him! So I for one am really looking forward to having a read, and judging by the first chapter which I have seen, you should BY NO MEANS believe Splitter when he says he sucks. Methinks the writer doth protest too much….

So read his blog, admire the covers, Tweet the link and do go check out the samples on Amazon. I mean, you could always throw underwear but there’s a bit of a cross-wind at the moment so it’d probably hit Bill Oddie or someone. Me, I’d go for the Tweet but then perhaps Bill Oddie would appreciate the attention, who knows? I’ll leave it to your good selves….

And so without further ado, let me hand you over to the lovely C.S Splitter!

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splitter crayder chronicles

C S Splitter, author of The Crayder Chronicles

Name: C.S. Splitter

Author of: The Reluctant and The Willing

Genre/s: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Mystery, Humor, Crime

P- or e-book: Both books are available as eBooks right now (The Willing to be released November 21st)  and will be available in print early in 2012.

Available from:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Crayder-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B004VS751O/

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52864

Journal Stone:  http://journal-store.com/bookstore/the-reluctant/

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/c-s-splitter

ibooks:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-reluctant/id449636851?mt=11

and other internet resellers.  Books are also available through other internet retailers and on Amazon’s international sites (UK, Germany, etc..)

One-sentence summary:

The justice system failed but Tom Crayder will not.

One-sentence biog:

C.S. Splitter is a business man, author, and stand-up philosopher living in rural Maryland with his beautiful wife, small dog, and astonishingly large cat.

Your links:

Blog – http://splittersworld.blogspot.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002241805910

Twitter:  @SplitterCS


Book cover Reluctant Crayder Chronicles SplitterCS Splitter Crayder Chronicles 2 The Willing

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Indie Mistakes and Lessons

Since I will never be able to convince you, the reader, that I am an expert in the field of self publishing, let me take the easy route and convince you that I am stupid.  I see that look on your face – you are already believing me.  Good!  Here we go:

One of my earliest memories as a child was sitting on someone’s hip in the kitchen, either my grandmother or my mother (they were both there), and being told not to touch the hot stove.  I do not remember the pain, but I remember the angry red circles on my palm and the commotion that ensued among the adults.  They were right; the stove was hot.

Apparently, I need to figure out things for myself.  I am dense like that and have a whole file full of stories from my life to prove it.  You do not have to be so dense and you will not be if you read on.

In 2010, ideas for a character and then for a story hit me.  Hard.  I had to write it.

That lightning bolt from the heavens came a decade too late.  I had spent more than ten years trying to come up with an idea for a fantasy book, my favorite genre to read.  I would get an idea, begin to outline it or write it, and then realize that it had been done before and probably in a better way than I could ever hope to duplicate.  I gave up writing fiction.

It did not matter that, when I finally got a good and original idea, it was in a totally different genre without swords, or castles, or princesses to rescue.  I had to write it.  It was that powerful.  The will to write fiction was back in a big way.

I began enthusiastically tapping away on my laptop and the first few chapters flew by.  I bogged down in the middle of the book and had to abandon my original outline for an even better idea.  I struggled through that period and, as Paul Harvey would have said, “the rest of the story” just flowed until the end.

I did it!  I wrote a book.  I did a little dance, consumed some alcohol, and dreamt of the fame and fortune that would be coming my way.  I had no idea whether or not the work was any good, but the dreaming was fun.  For a while.

Reality set in when I re-read my book.  The story…well, in all modesty…I think it was good.  The writing seemed fine, too.  After all, I had read hundreds of books in my life and knew how to spell and punctuate and not end a sentence in a preposition.  At least, I thought I did.

I had to make hundreds of corrections on my subsequent readings.  After about six re-reads and self-edits, it was ready to release.  I hated my own book by that point because I could almost recite it verbatim.  People read it and liked it—and sent me emails showing me where mistakes still lurked.  I fixed them and put out ten or more revised versions.  Everything had to be fixed by then, right?  Right?

Not by a long shot.  By the time the book had ten reviews, all four and five stars, there were still problems.  My readers, as thorough as they were, did not catch all of the book’s flaws.  But, the story and the characters were good enough to make them like the book.

By the time I figured this out, I was mostly done with the first draft of the second book in the series (The Crayder Chronicles).  I didn’t need to beg (as much) for alpha and beta readers for the second book because I had the contact information for some readers who liked the first book.  My alpha/beta readers are the BEST!  They tore into the second book and sent me lists of little errors that needed correcting.

Every time I made corrections on the second book, I sent out a revised file to the beta readers.  Right down to the last one, they kept finding little errors.  I was well on my way to having to publish the second book, The Willing, and do many revisions just like I had done with the first book.

Did I really want to repeat those mistakes?  Did I really want early readers getting less than my best effort?  Did I really want to keep finding little typos and having to correct them by updating the files on sites like Amazon and Smashwords?

No, I did not.  I am not really bright, but I do try to learn as I go and, as a side note, I have never laid my hand flat on a red hot stove burner again (at least, not on purpose).  I got an editor, Tricia Kristufek.  I call her the “Comma Queen.”  She started with my second book and worked her way back through the first book.

It was apparent that after all of the “cloud editing” that my alpha and beta readers did for me and even after readers pointed out typos as they praised the characters and story, I still sucked as a writer.

“Sucked” is a harsh word.  I guess I didn’t suck compared to some of the bad indie work I have seen out there, but I wasn’t “clean” either.  I did not want to be one of “those” indie authors who put out junk, so I got an editor.  A real editor who could give the books a little polish.  My editor showed me why “sucked” was really not too strong a term for me.

I say all of that to say this: learn from my mistakes.  That is lesson one.  Do not touch hot stoves and do not needlessly cause yourself heartache and embarrassment.  I have already done that for you!

It is terribly embarrassing, in retrospect, to know that the there were still too many mistakes in the first book, even with the last revision, before I had it edited.  How many potential readers downloaded those first couple chapters and noticed something that turned them off?  How many publishers?

See—I have bad habits as a writer.  I can say that freely because if you are a writer, you probably have some too.  I even see bad habits FREQUENTLY on display from well known authors from Big Six publishing houses.

So here is lesson two: You are making mistakes in your writing that you do not even realize and you need someone looking over your shoulder from a totally new perspective that will point them out to you.  Get an editor.  Somehow, some way, get an editor.  See lesson one for a refresher on “why.”

Because I am doomed to analyze positively everything, I thought back and tried to figure out why I had made the mistake of putting out that first book too quickly and with too many errors.  I thought back to how I felt when I was writing that book and how wonderful it felt when I “finished” it.  That was it!  I rushed the book out to be published because I was excited and because I did not know any better.

Lesson three: There is no hurry.  Wait.  Refine.  Think about it.  Do some research.  If you have read this far, you no longer have an excuse for not knowing better…I took care of that for you by making those mistakes already.  See lesson one!

Am I sorry I made so many mistakes with the first book?  Not really.  It turned out just fine in the end.  The characters and the story were always good, or so I have been told.  The writing was where I was mostly falling short and that was fixable.

Plus, I found some wonderful alpha and beta readers that will, hopefully, be available to me as I put out future books in the series.  I made friends that included other authors and bunches of readers and reviewers.

I have one more lesson for you today, take it for what it is worth: your cover is probably bad and is costing you sales.  Did I mention how bad my original covers probably were?  I say “probably” because, as someone who lacks any hint of artistic ability, I made them.  So, when I decided to finally start marketing the series, I started working with Dafeenah from IndieDesignz.  I basically just said, “Here is what my story is about, here are the themes I want to follow, please make me a good cover.”  She delivered in a HUGE way for the cover of The Reluctant.

Here is where the writer of this article should double back and convince you, once again, that he/she is such an expert that you should be following his/her advice.  I will tell you truthfully; I am no expert.  I am just an indie writer fighting his way through this new aspect of the publishing industry.  All I can really tell you is that I am, or have been, where you are or were.  That’s not far yet, but maybe someday…

Splitter

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So once again, many thanks to Splitter for coming to play today! His new book The Willing is out on 21st, so do check out The Reluctant if you haven’t already looked.

Next week, we have a Q&A with Shane Porteous who will tell us a little about his  new book – one for the werewolf fans among you, he tells me! And further down the line we will have blogs from MTMaguire and Lexi Revellian and if all goes to plan, quite possibly On Dark Shores 2: The Other Nereia though that will be further into December.

So as always, add your comments below and tell us if you’ve already read The Reluctant, what you know of The Willing,and indeed whether your undies hit Bill Oddie after all…

Have a great weekend, peeps!

JAC

Dear all:

Here for your delectation is a fantastic guestpost courtesy of Lee Sinclair, humorist, founder of The Secret Bookclub on Goodreads (don’t tell anyone I told you about it) and many other entertainments (some listed below). She has been in conversation with Em, star of The Book of Blognots, Not Blogs who has kindly passed on a Halloween anecdote for your perusal. So I leave you in the capable hands of Lee Sinclair as Em regales you with:

My Encounter With The Undead
A blog post by em

I don’t usually go around talking to the undead. I may be crazy, but I’m not THAT crazy. I already have plenty of problems without looking for more. If you’ve read the book that my blogging dog, Big M, and I wrote, you’re aware of the extent of my problems. If you haven’t read it, don’t bother. There’s no useful information in it. Not only do I not have normal problems that normal people have, but I haven’t managed to solve any of them. The best I can do is to ignore them until they go away on their own. And that hardly ever works. Most of my problems insist on sticking around no matter how much effort I put into ignoring them.

Anyway, the other day, my sister asked me about zombies. She has recently been reading books about them and had some questions. Since I know nothing about zombies, I couldn’t help her. But wouldn’t you know, a few days after that, I saw one walking down the street, all bundled up against the chilly fall weather. (Isn’t that the way it always happens? Someone mentions a person or thing, and suddenly you’re seeing them everywhere.) At the time, it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. So I rushed over and began grilling him.

But it turned out it wasn’t an overdressed zombie, after all. It was a mummy. Like I said, I really don’t know anything about zombies, so it’s not surprising I couldn’t tell the difference. Still, who better to answer questions about the undead than a member of the undead. Or so I thought. Although he was perfectly willing to talk to me, his whole conversation was nothing more than a string of curses. I never have figured out how to deal with those who indiscriminately spew bad language. So the mummy’s curses made me feel more and more uncomfortable. I was almost ready to give up my quest for answers when I noticed he had a loose thread hanging off him. And it was just plain bad luck I didn’t have a pair of scissors with me that day.

All I can say in my defense is I was only trying to be helpful. Who knew there was nothing underneath all those wrappings? Mind you, that may not be true for ALL mummies, but it was for this one. Now I feel a little bit like a murderess, although I’m not sure I actually killed him. He just sort of disappeared, leaving behind a pile of stained and smelly cloth. And technically, I don’t think you can kill someone who is already dead. Legally, you can’t be tried for the same crime twice, but I don’t believe there are any laws addressing this particular situation.

Regardless, I still feel really bad about what I did, whatever it was. So if anyone happens to see a naked, invisible mummy, please pass on my sincere apologies to him.

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Author & Book Info

I don’t really have a bio because I think of myself as a writer, not an author. Perhaps if I publish several books, I’ll become more accustomed to talking about myself in the third person. Not only that, I don’t live in some evocatively named city with 1 husband, 2 children, and 3 pets. Instead, I’m moldering away in the Northwestern United States because I’m one of those people who like rain and moss. I’m also seriously hampered by my lack of dexterity, so I can’t impress anyone with a list of fascinating skills or hobbies. Besides, those things tend to create clutter, and I’m trying to get rid of my clutter, not add to it. I used to do some gardening, which is a popular author pastime, but to be honest, I was never very good at it and found it to be a lot of work. A final note about myself, I’m only half as crazy as the crazy little old lady in my book.

Providing a description of my book is equally challenging. Try to imagine this: Take Bridget Jones’s Diary and Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints and stick them in a commercial grade blender. Add a dozen noncontiguous pages from Pride and Prejudice and a random page from a dozen different self-help books. Throw in a few columns each from Dave Berry, Ann Landers, and Isaac Asimov. Season with an excessive amount of puns. Then run the blender for about an hour. The resulting mess will be surprisingly similar to my book.

Book of Blognots, Not Blogs by Lee Sinclair

 

 ◊ An irrepressible, reborn spinster who embraces life and technology in her own unique way

 

◊ A blogging dog who tries to explain things he doesn’t understand

 

◊ And a story you’re not going to believe

Links:

Amazon Listing:  Book of Blognots, Not Blogs
Website: www.sinclairstories.com

Group Blog: Boomers and Books

So many thanks go to Lee and Em there – and to the rest of you – have a great Halloween – and if you see a Mummy on the street, you know what to do!!
Take care, all, and watch this space for an interview with Cambria Hebert, author of imminent release “Maskerade” – one for all you paranormal fans out there. More in a week or so!
JAC

http://afstewartblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/fantastic-fantasy-review-of-on-dark.html

Loving this review and the comments – but not at all intimidated by it, ohhhh nooo….

Thanks so much for the review, AF – now all I have to do is hope and pray the next one won’t let you all down….
JAC

The countdown begins!

In case any of you have escaped notice so far, “On Dark Shores” is currently going free at Smashwords – BUT this deal only lasts till the end of the month.

So if you want to read a copy – or  do fwd the link on if you have friends who like fantasy – go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/46488 and input this special code

SSWSF

which is also written at the top of the Smashwords page, and you should be able to simply download all 45k words of it (ish) without having to pay a solitary penny! Bargain, huh?

And if you enjoy the read, please

a) consider leaving a review – Smashwords, Amazon, the Apple story, Goodreads, anywhere the book is, you’ll find other readers who want to know what you thought of it.

b) if you want to know what happens next, sign up to the mailing list using the rather snazzy new “Get the gossip” button to the right. Book 2 (The Mother) is currently in editing but work is going apace – and you KNOW advance review copies will be offered to reviewers of book 1 and to those on the mailing list before it’s advertised anywhere else!

c) if neither of those appeal, but you enjoyed the book, just go tell someone – preferably someone to whom you think the book will appeal rather than your dog, a small child or your religious advisor, maybe (depending on the religious advisor), but word of mouth is an incredibly powerful thing.

Anyway, the count-down continues – and if On Dark Shores isn’t your thing, check out some of the other books available there. Most have a downloadable sample so you can try before you buy in order to check it looks interesting, and there is some really unusual work out there.

Hope at least some of that will be helpful – and as always, have a great day, peeps!

JAC

 

Hi all – just a quickie in case any of you missed Barbara Silkstone’s guest-blog on the differences between marketing in the UK and the US, with reference to various indie authors including Ali Cooper, Sibel Hodge and myself, among others…

Check it out at http://markwilliamsinternational.com/2011/07/10/swimming-the-atlantic-naked-barbara-silkstone-investigates/

and do leave a comment if you have a view!

JAC

 

Hey all:

Just a brief blog – check out

The Smashwords Top Ten Bestsellers in Epic Fantasy List

This morning I found that ‘On Dark Shores: The Lady’ was up at no. 8, which was very exciting – so I came back to it this evening and would you believe that it’s up to 7th place?

I suspect that this is mostly because it’s free at the moment and I went in to put the price back up to 50% off – but I might leave it another day now, and see if it goes up any higher….

HOW cool is that though?! Exceedingly chuffed!

And as always, if anyone would be prepared to RT on Twitter or Facebook, I’d really appreciate that.

Thanks for your support, all – you know I wouldn’t have got this far without you.

JAC

And here it is:

http://historicalfictionobsession.blogspot.com/2011/06/on-dark-shores-lady-by-ja-clement.html

Kimberly has a blog at http://historicalfictionobsession.blogspot.com/ on which are many other interesting reviews, so do go and have a look, and if you get there before 21st, enter for her giveaway of The Ghosts of Melrose by Buzz Malone.

Pretty pleased with the review though! Have you read ODS? Did you think the same, or did you pick up on other parts of the story? Leave a comment, and let’s have the discussion…

Hope you’re all having a good week, anyhow – no guest post this week but should be one next week, though not sure who will finish their first, so still tbc!

Catch you later, people;

JAC

Morning all!

And hope you’re all having a decent weekend….

I’m quite glad the week is over – everything is really busy at the moment, I’m doing edits on Book 2 in all my spare time, and got caught up in the train uproar on Thursday night, so my (usually 1hr) journey home actually took best part of 6 hours, leaving me getting in so late I had 3h sleep before having to get up again and start my Friday commute! Yuck!

However, in better news,’ On Dark Shores: The Lady‘ is just this minute up to #7839 in the whole of the Kindle Store – get me! I’m really pleased, even though that will probably last all of ten minutes…. but to be in the top 10k is quite cool, so though I guess I’ll be back down again by tomorrow, I thought I’d record the moment! The editing of book 2 is going apace (in part thanks to said train journey) and I’ll be unveiling the new and improved blurb once all the votes are in.

But that’s quite enough from me – let’s get on to what you’ve really come here for!

This week we are lucky enough to have a guest blog from none other than Lisa Hinsley! The challenge I set Lisa was to write a fairy story as it would have happened if she herself was the heroine. With her tendencies towards the horror genre, it was never going to be light and fluffy, but I think that you’ll enjoy the following – Snow White it ain’t!!

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About the author:

Lisa C Hinsley was born in Portsmouth in 1971, and grew up in England, Scotland, and America.  Recently, her novel What Alice Sees placed as runner-up in the 2010 UKA Opening Pages Competition. Her novel Coombe’s Wood finished in the semi-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2009 and was awarded runner up in the all-genre Book of the Year Awards 2008 on Arts Council website YouWriteOn. Now listed on Amazon Kindle, Coombe’s Wood has sold over 2000 copies. 
Check out her website at http://lisahinsley.weebly.com for her blog, links, and all the latest on her various works.

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GUEST-BLOG CHALLENGE: The Fairytale…

Lisa rolled over in her bed and wished her mother dead. She couldn’t believe she’d had the nerve to try and make her eat the kidney in the pie. Yuck! Who eats such horrible stuff? Oh yes, her mum and dad. She let out a huff and pulled her pillow over her face.

How dare she? Mum should eat horrible stuff, like roasted grasshoppers or fried grubs. She saw that on a documentary on the telly. See what she thinks of eating things that make her want to gag. Lisa rubbed at her knuckles where he mother had rapped them with a fork. Persuasion, her father called it. Lisa called it abuse.

A loud bang from downstairs sounded, and Lisa threw the pillow aside and sat up, curious. There was a second bang followed by a short sharp scream – her mother! Lisa jumped out of bed and opened her door and crept to the top of the stairs. A group of small dumpy men with long scraggly beards had her parents surrounded.

“Where’s the girl?” one of them asked, and poked her mother with a short sword.

“Oi, lay off my wife. What do you think you’re doing?” Her father shoved the blade aside.

Three of the dwarfs pressed swords into her father’s side.

“Ow, that actually hurts. Those aren’t toys, you know.” He sounded scared, and Lisa tried to see a little better what was going on. Who were the dwarfs, and where on earth had they come from?

“Where’s the girl? Your daughter?” the one she thought was the leader asked. He had a funny accent.

“What daughter?” her father answered. “We don’t have a daughter.”

“I don’t think I believe you…” the dwarf thought for a moment, then said, “Take them through. They’ll tell us where she is eventually.”

Her parents were shoved towards the coat cupboard. At the last moment, her mother glanced up to the stairs at Lisa. It was enough. Two of the dwarfs came back into the house and closed the cupboard door. There was a gleam in their eyes as they climbed the stairs. Lisa jumped up and ran for her bedroom, but they were faster. Next thing she knew, as she grabbed desperately at the handle, something hit her on the back of the head.

Everything went black.

Lisa opened her eyes to find herself in a large sunny room. All around her were other children, laughing and playing.

“Urgh…” Lisa touched the back of her head where the dwarfs had hit her.

“Oh, hello.” A blonde girl noticed her moving, and came over. “You’re new, aren’t you.” She said it as a statement. “Don’t be scared. You’ve come to… child heaven.” She grinned widely. “But you’re not dead,” she added quickly.

“Where am I, then?” Lisa sat up. She was on some sort of fancy day bed, covered in rich, red velvet.

“You’re in another world,” the girl whispered. “Oh, sorry. I’m Liz. I came here last week. I’m waiting for my family to be assigned, should be very soon now.”

“Family, what are you talking about?” Lisa was more awake now, noticing the bars on the windows, even through the thin curtains.

“None of the adults can have children. So they take children who need a family and bring them here.”

Lisa checked the room for the door. She found it – and one of those warrior dwarfs. “But I have a family,” she muttered.

Liz shrugged. “But I’m guessing they didn’t treat you very well. Are they horrible?”

Lisa didn’t answer.

“Anyway, here you’ll get parents who treat you like a living god.” She smiled. “Hungry? You can order whatever you fancy. But there’s already piles of things to choose from.”

Liz helped Lisa off the daybed, and took her to a table covered in cakes and sweets. Lisa’s tummy grumbled, she’d gone to bed without any dinner. As she munched on a cookie, she wondered about what they’d done to her parents. Would the guard know what happened to them? Maybe they were sent back.

“Um, excuse me?”

The warrior dwarf clicked his heels to attention.

“What’s happened to my mum and dad?”

The dwarf waved a hand as if her question wasn’t important. “Why would you want to know about them?”

“Because they’re my parents?” She was getting angry. Why wouldn’t anyone give her a straight answer? “I want to see them. Now!” she shouted.

The dwarf cleared his throat. “You’ll see them… tomorrow.”

She knew he was making it up. Not to worry. She’d wait. Eventually she’d find out what happened to them.

Days passed. She had a tummy ache from eating too many sweets, and a strong craving for her mother’s homemade soup. She slipped out to use the loo, and as she sat there, allowing a few tears to fall, closed up inside the toilet cubicle, she heard a noise – two of the dwarf guides.

“Oi Bert, another of the parents kicked it last night. Need you to help me drag the body up from the dungeon and toss it out in the lake. The crocodiles will make short work of that one – nothing left but skin and bones.”

Lisa poked her stomach. She’d grown noticeably rounder since she came here. Too many sweets and cakes, and not enough exercise. She missed her bike as well. A sob threatened to escape, and she clapped a hand over her mouth in case the dwarfs heard.

The other one was speaking, “…Fine, Norman, I’ll help. But then you need to help me get the next sacrifice up the mountain.” A sacrifice – what?

“Okay, that’s a deal. Do you know where I can get any more heat protection? Mine’s shot, and it’s blooming hot on top of the volcano. When the chid is squirming, you have to have the protection wrapped all the way around.”

Lisa started, her eyes wide. They were sacrificing them, the children, into a volcano – like she learned in history. She had to do something! The dwarfs left the room, and the moment she judged it to be safe, she leapt off the toilet seat and fled the room.

But back in the main chamber, where all the children lolled around on comfy sofas and beds, surrounded by toys and food, Lisa realised how close their guards stayed. There was no way she’d be able to make a grand announcement to the other kids, so she went to William and whispered in her ear, “We don’t go to new parents. They’re sacrificing us to the volcano.” She nodded her head towards the window. Beyond the bars, a plume of smoke rose from the nearby mountain.

William shook his head. “You’re wrong,” he whispered back.

“I heard two of the dwarfs talking about it, just now in the loos. They didn’t know I was there.”

“I’m not so sure…” No doubt he was thinking about his mystical future parents.

“Then stay. My parents are in the dungeon, just as yours probably are. To be honest, I don’t care what you do. Just pass the message along. Goodbye.”

Lisa didn’t wait for acknowledgement. She made her way to the edge of the room, and waited for her chance to escape. It didn’t take long. Maybe William believed her. Maybe he simply wanted to give her a chance with what she believed. Either way, he’d climbed up on top of a table laden with creamy cakes, and toppled everything over. There was an almighty crash and a yelp from William, and the guard who usually stayed by the door ran over. This was her chance. She opened the door, wished William good luck, and slipped out of the room.

She stood out so badly. No other children were wondering about, so she ducked behind a statue and the tapestry behind that was hung from the wall and tried to figure out what to do. She had to look like one of them. A dwarf would make the most sense, as she was about the same height. Her mind made up, Lisa crept out from behind the tapestry, and searched for a weapon. She didn’t have to go far. The walls were adorned with all manner of weaponry. She grabbed what looked to be an ancient club, ripped it off the frame it was attached to and hid back behind the tapestry. Making sure she had a view of the hall, she waited for a solitary dwarf.

Many came in twos and threes, and she had to stifle a yawn as she waited. But then one rounded the corner. Lisa made sure no others came around the end of the corridor and jumped out, first startling the dwarf, them popped him on the head with the club. He rubbed his head, a curious frown on his face.

“Go down,” she muttered and cracked the club over his head a second time. This was enough, and the dwarf toppled over. Quickly, before anyone else came, she stripped the dwarf and dressed in his clothing. Rubbing her hands on the floor, she wiped the dirt she’d picked up on her chin. It was the closet she’d get to a beard. Hopefully they weren’t born with beards, and she’d be dismissed as a young one. Finally, she pulled his cat on, wrinkling her nose at the stinky smell, and dropped the tapestry over him. Hopefully she’d have enough time before he woke up or was discovered.

Now disguised, Lisa walked around searching for stairs going down. She half ran, half walked, trying every door she found. Some were locked, and she fretted, what if the one she wanted was locked, and she’d already gone past it? But as she took a left into  a new passage, she spotted a rounded door, different to all the others. Her heart quickened. It had to be that one, she knew it!

Lisa ran down the hall and tried the door, it opened to reveal stone stairs descending down into darkness. Bingo! She thought and quietly closed the door behind her.

Oh no. Lisa tried not to start crying. The smell down here was overpowering – poo, pee and death, all mixed up together. The first thing she saw was the prison cells. Gaols, she supposed they’d actually be called. They were small, with iron bars on three walls, a long row of them on each side with a corridor running down the middle. Someone had thrown straw down, and the adults had gathered this up as a makeshift bed. All of the cells were full, and all of the adults were staving. A small noise escaped her, and suddenly dozens of pairs of eyes turned her way. Halfway down, she recognised her parents, but they were different. While she’d been upstairs getting fat on sweets and cakes, they’d been starving to death.

“Mum, dad, it’s me,” she whispered, and stuck her fingers between the bars.

“Lisa?” her father replied, his voice weak. “Is it really you?”

Lisa nodded as she tried to hold back the tears. They both looked so sick. In the cell next to them, where the occupant probably hadn’t moved in a fair few days, a grub crawled slowly over. Her father grabbed it as soon as it was close enough.

“Darling, I have some food for you.”

Her mother obediently opened her mouth, and he put the grub, still wiggling, into her mouth. Lisa tried not to gag as her mother chewed and swallowed. “Thank you dear,” she said, he voice so weak it was almost mute.

“Where’s the key, I’ve got to get you out.”

“They keep it down the end. Be careful, there’s always one of those dwarfs guarding them,” he said, his eye on another grub.

Lisa didn’t want to see her mother eat a second maggot, and took off down the end of the cells. As she rounded the corner, she stopped dead. The key was hung from a hook above a sleeping dwarf. He appeared to be in a deep sleep, muttering and twitching as some dream played out. She thought of her parents, the volcano, and home. Her mind set, she tip toed forwards.

“What do you think you’re doing?” A hand lashed out and grabbed her by the wrist.

She cleared her throat in and in her best deep voice said, “I’m helping Bert get the bodies out to the lake. Need to open the cell.” Her heart beat so hard, she wondered if he’d hear it, if that’s what would give her away.

“Lazy git. Should be doing it himself.” He squinted at her. “You new, haven’t seen you about.”

“Umm…” she thought for a moment, had to come up with something reasonable. She recalled the conversation in the bathroom and said, “I’m Norman’s nephew. New to the job.”

“Ah, fair enough. Well if you’re here, I’m off of a break.”

With that, he released her wrist, stood up and stretched. Before she could say another word, he’d gone.

Lisa reached up a second time, unhooked the key and ran back into the main room. Moments later, her parents were free. The three hugged of a second, but only for a second, they were still in so much danger!

“What do we do now?” Lisa asked. “How do we get home?”

“Well first, we do this.” Her father took the key from her and handed it to the couple in the next cell. “Free yourselves, and hand it along,” he said, then grabbed Lisa and her mother by the hand. “I know where we came in. That’s our best chance of getting home.”

Her dad certainly seemed to know where he was going. He led them out of the dungeon, up a corridor and down another. Finally he stopped in front of an ornately carved wooden door. “I’ve been dreaming of escape, of this door, of going home.” He stoked Lisa’s cheek, and then her mother’s. Come on.”

He opened the door to reveal a cupboard. The three glanced at each other, this was the right place – the portal.

“This has to be right, yeah?” Lisa asked.

“Has to be. Looks right.” Her father scratched at his beard.

“Will it take us home?” her mother asked.

“Could take us anywhere.”

“Dad,” Lisa tugged on her father’s sleeve. “Anywhere is better than here.”

With that, the three of them squeezed into the small space. After a quickly mumbled prayer, her father closed the door.

“Do you think that’s long enough?” her mother asked.

“I’ve no idea.”

“What did they do when they took you over?” Lisa asked.

“Closed it and reopened it, and voila, we were somewhere else. What about you?”

“I don’t know. They knocked me out.”

Her parents exchanged a sad look.

“I got a bump on my head, you two were starved, priorities!” she said, just as her mother usually said.

“Open it,” her mother said.

“Go on, Dad.”

“Here goes nothing.” Her father squeezed his eyes shut and opened the door.

“Oh my God, we’re home!”

“Don’t swear, Lisa,” her mother said, but she had a big grin on her face.

“Go open the cupboards,” her father told Lisa.

“Which ones?” she asked.

“All of them.”

Lisa ran around the bedrooms, opening all the doors, wedging them in place, and found her mum and dad in the kitchen. Everything was open. Even the kitchen cabinets.

Suddenly, Lisa breaks down in tears. “I’m sorry mummy. I wished you dead, and that you had to eat grubs because you made me eat kidney.”

“Oh sweety, it wasn’t your fault,” her mother said and cuddled her close. But not close enough to hide the look she gave her father. An accusatory glance, a glance full of blame.

“How about I make a promise,” her mother said. “I won’t make you eat any more kidney.”

“Okay Mum.” Lisa made her own promise at the same time: that she would never, ever wish her mother dead.

Unless she made her eat something else yucky. Then Lisa might just close a door. Or two…

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So there you have it – don’t cross Lisa unless you have a penchant for crawly foodstuffs…..

Thanks to Lisa for her fairytale, and to you lovely people for dropping by! Next week’s guest blogger is still tbc but in the weeks ahead we can look forward to something from the pen of MTMaguire, author of ‘Few Are Chosen’ and assorted others from the worlds of poetry, prose and theatre. Cool, huh? – hope you’re enjoying these blogs as much as I am!

In the meantime, have a great week – and do drop by next week for our next guest spot!

Take care, peeps!

JAC