Tag Archive: jaclement


Hi all:

First things first: I’m delighted to tell you that this week’s guest blogger is none other than Lexi Revellian, silversmith of no small artistry, and author of ‘Remix‘ and ‘Replica‘ which are two of my best indie finds to date.  Come back over the weekend to read what she has to say about writing and ‘Replica’….cool, huh? Watch this space!

Second – if you haven’t read ‘On Dark Shores: The Lady’ and would like to, it’s being featured as part of a giveaway at Misty Baker’s blog ‘Unwritten’ so if you go and comment there, you can claim a copy of this or a  variety of other books free, gratis, and generally for the having! Don’t say I never give you anything….

Lastly: I’ve had another very pleasing review, this time from Craig at CS Fantasy Reviews so do go and have a look (and if you agree or disagree, why not leave him a comment and have the discussion?)

Here’s an excerpt from it (the most flattering bit, obv!):

“Clement’s greatest strength as a writer is her characterization. It is amazing how well she can breathe life into a character, revealing their every nuance in a minimal amount of words. The frequent point of view changes were cleverly used as well to create an even pacing throughout. The world building in this novel was also done well and believable through an almost minimalist approach.”

and he scored it 8/10, which I’m pretty pleased about; so that’s started my Thursday rather nicely. Best be getting on with my editing then…. Hope you lot are all having a good week – and do drop by again over the weekend to see Lexi’s post!

Catch you later;

JAC

Hi all;

Just a quickie to let you know that my latest guest appearance (oooo get me) is at A Moose Walked into a Bar

Go and read of yet another incident where getting a word wrong led to vast embarrassment for yours truly…. Again!

Have a good week, all;

JAC

Morning all!

Just a quick link to tell you I have an interview up, for those who’s like to see it! Check it out at  LiteralExposure.com

…but of course, after you’ve read Barbara’s excerpt!

Have a good one;

JAC

Hiya all – I’m back from hols and there’s a HUGE amount to catch up on! Emails, forums, Tweets, blogs, never mind edits on Book 2 which I should start on just after Easter….it’s going to be a busy month even without all the usual day-job, home-life maintenance stuff (and this month there’s going to be a whole load of that too!)

Anyhow, this is mostly a spaceholder and to let you know two things:firstly, I’ll be guest-blogging in May and will give you more details as I have them.
Secondly, I may try to initiate a series of interviews or guest blogs with other authors, so if you have any questions you’d like added to the list do leave them in a comment for me.

Also, as you might have guessed from the title, I’m very chuffed to have received another good review, again with 5* rating, which has been copied across to both US & UK Amazons and to Smashwords.

Check it out at:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/On-Dark-Shores-The-Lady/dp/B004S7JCYG/

http://www.amazon.com/On-Dark-Shores-The-Lady/dp/B004S7JCYG/

(Whoa! It didn’t used to do that, I’m sure, but am loving the link though it’s a bit in-your-face markety….) Anyway.

Hope you all have / had a lovely Easter, and watch this space for more bloggage next week.

Right! As Zebedee so wisely commented, it is indeed time for bed.
Night all….
JAC

Look what I found this morning!

https://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/compliment-quotient-dark-shores-coming-attractions_b26319#

I wonder if they tweeted it? They have 60k followers on Twitter!

Mind, last week they recommended a book called “Jesus Potter and Goblin Tales”  – am in august company methinks…

This is only a placeholder for the toc.ncx guide blog which is mostly written but I just need to check through the links and make sure they’re correct, so do watch this space!

Have a good Friday, all!

JAC.

Hey all –

‘On Dark Shores: The Lady’ just got a 5* review on Amazon.co.uk

Review reads:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Oh, you’re just teasing us,
18 Mar 2011
By Gingerlily (Ireland) – See all my reviews
This review is from: On Dark Shores: The Lady (Kindle Edition)

This book feels like its not nearly long enough, and I can’t wait for the next part to come out. It’s great fantasy, quite dark and gripping.
Most of the action takes place in one small town, it’s a very intense and claustrophobic setting, but near the end it starts to open up and you get a feeling of all sorts of wider story happening around the little knot of characters that you have got so involved with.
Don’t read this if you want light and frothy stuff – there is some violence in it that would be distressing if it were described in any detail – it isn’t or I wouldn’t have been able to read it!
There are all sorts of suggestions left here for the next book, and very few threads are tied up, there is a sample chapter for the next book at the end, but I didn’t read it as I wanted to wait for the full book to come out. When it does I will be pouncing on it with great anticipation.

=========
How cool is that?! I’m really pleased….

On Dark Shores: The Lady is available for Kindle on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com as well as on Smashwords for other ereaders or reading on the PC – the sample is free to download…

Main blog will come later in the week, when with a bit of luck I’ll detail how to convert a word file into a fully-functioning ebook WITH toc.ncx file…

Watch this space…!

JAC

Laydeeez and gentlemen, I give you:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/46488

Yup – we are live on Smashwords! And if you get there before the end of Saturday it’s still part of Read An Ebook Week which means that if you input the voucher code you find on the page there you can download it for free!

Amazon uploads are still a work in progress due to the whimsical nature of constructing the files for the active toc. Toc, for the uninitiated, is short for Table Of Contents but while there will be one at the front of the book which is part of the file, the active toc is a separate file written in html but saved with an .ncx extension (I did know what it stood for but I forget). This file allows you to tab through the book with the 5-way button on the Kindle, so that if you want to check something in the last chapter, you hit the button and it jumps back to the chapter’s first page. It is useful surprisingly often and Amazon guidelines now state that their ebooks should have one. 

This is fine except that adding one is quite finicky, and altering the two other files to tell them how to use it – well, that’s proving so tricky that so far the conversion has been done and deleted six – yes SIX times over! Turns out it doesn’t like spaces in file names though, so hopefully this time it might work better….

So: for non-Kindle readers and those who want to read it on their PC, go have a look at Smashwords because until Saturday it’s yours for free!

For those of a more Kindlish persuasion, there is a file on there that you can read, but if you want to wait for the Amazon version you’ll have a tab-able version with the all-new and improved TOC. Hopefully should be early on next week or in about 3 weeks’ time according to where you are in the world (different iterations of Amazon); but watch this space and I’ll keep you posted!

PS as soon as I have a mo I’ll make an extra page for O-D-S where all the relevant links can go – but you KNOW I’ll be rambling on about it all over the blog in the meantime….

Have a great weekend!

JAC.

During the course of my edits, I have had to cut various parts of “On Dark Shores”, not because they weren’t good enough to go in, but because they were flashbacks or other backstory. In most cases leaving them in slowed the story down and, as my editors pointed out, the important bits could better be told in a few sentences that kept up the pace. Although I think both editors were right, knowing a bit of the backstory might enrich the novel for you, so rather than throw them away, it occurred to me that I could do a quick edit myself and post them up by way of a taster of the story and an introduction to some of the characters; however, do be aware that  these are the bits that have NOT been curated by editors / proof-readers and beta-readers – just myself!

“On Dark Shores” Sample 2

The following snippet was initially the opening of the whole book;  the first 5 paragraphs in italics (up to the = line) are actually the very first half-page that I wrote, the initial download of that sense of desolation and sadness with which I woke up one day in 2002 after a nameless dream. It’s probably a bit adjective-heavy as in its original incarnation I was intending to make it a poem, but it just wouldn’t play. It knew it wanted to be a story long before I gave up trying different line-breaks!

In the finished version this is all boiled down to about 4 paragraphs and comes a bit further into the text, but for curiosity value I thought you might like to see the initial download and subsequent expansion.  Compare and contrast to the new and improved beginning a couple of posts ago, and see what you think….

JAC

PS (It’s not all this bleak, I promise! …er, don’t think it is, anyway…)

=============================================

It was raining hard. The sky was grey, grey, always grey, it seemed to her as she made her way wearily through the muddy alleyways. It had been a long day. For all that Copeland told her, for all that she’d been stealing for him since she was barely grown, she’d been brought up honest and she was quite sure she’d never stop hating it. If it wasn’t that she had to keep Mary and herself somehow she’d run away tomorrow, she told herself; but these days she didn’t even believe that any more. They were stuck, the two of them, and there didn’t seem to be any way out. The weeks and months all blurred into each other  until the only point of reference in the whole year was –

She stopped suddenly. It was today: eleven years ago today it had happened, and she had not been up to the cliff-top yet. How could she have forgotten? She made her way down the spray-slick stairway which led down to the beach.

Mary would have already been there. Her sister never forgot, though she had been too young to remember anything of that terrible day and the bewildering slide from their old life into this desperate, scrambling existence.

She bent to pick up two smoothed stones, each the size of a fist and varnished with water. As she straightened, a memory seized her; of standing here a little while after it happened, bewildered by the speed with which all the mainstays of her life had been swept away. She remembered…

 …Normally this was the height of the kindly summer which warmed these temperate parts; but not this year. This summer had seen one of the most terrible storms in living memory; and then rain, and rain. Only once in a while came a dry day, and those were wind-bitten and desolate as dust and old bones.

The wind mourned along the beach, quiet but chill enough that she shivered under the old woollen shawl she wore. The grey waves spilled over into hissing spray, the pebbles rolling and receding as if they were determined to gnaw away all the land until the world was washed clean of it, and only restless water remained; until all was silent except for the ocean’s ceaseless whispers…

She wondered what it would be like to swim out into the shifting sea, past the harbour walls and the little scatter of rocks out in the bay; to be washed away by the currents until the tall crags behind her sank beneath the horizon, and all her world was wide flat sky, the unknown depths gaping unseen beneath her, and the pale speck of her face, lost and insignificant in the vast bleak endless waters. She shivered at the thought.

They said that drowning was an easy way to go; but it haunted her, the thought of swimming out, far past returning, and then at the very last having doubts and trying to fight hopelessly back to life, against an unforgiving sea.

A shock of cold dragged her back to herself. She found she had moved right to the water’s edge, and as she stood, another wavelet threw chill tendrils around her toes. She jumped back then, shaking her foot as if to rid it of something unclean. There was nothing more to be done here. The water was seeping through the worn sole of her shoe, and she was cold; not just her feet or her hands, but cold through and through, cold and tired and dead and empty.

=

All that was left now was to go back; but back to what? A bare house, stripped of furniture and  memories; not even to be theirs any longer if Uncle Copeland had any say in the matter. Which he did. After her parents’ death, Uncle Copeland had arrived to “sort out their business interests” and now he said that they had no money left, though where it had all gone she did not know.

At first he had got rid of the servants and sold off all the horses in the stable, and then odd bits of land they had owned, followed by piece after piece of furniture until the house was empty; and still they seemed to have no money. Now Uncle Copeland said there was no point having a whole house in the best part of town just for two children. And really, he had added, at fifteen she was too old to be considered a child now.

She was not sure what he had meant her to do, but if nothing else there was always Mary, only four years old and unable to understand what had happened., Mary was the one thing that could never be taken from her, she had sworn it by everything she held dear; for now there was no-one to take care of them except Uncle Copeland…

She sighed. That sort of reminiscence did no good; the only difference that eleven years had made was that now even the house had been sold. She was standing in the downpour like a fool. Following in the steps of her past,  she walked wearily back up through the town; but where her memory-self went along the wide gracious street that led to what had been the family townhouse, she turned aside to climb the worn and crumbling path up to the cliff top. There she made her way between the cairns, some old and overgrown, others new and bare, to a place a little apart from the rest. There along the neat line of mounds she came to that familiar one, large enough not for two bodies but for the memories of those two. There were already two pebbles added to the cairn; Mary had not forgotten.

Silently she stacked her own alongside them, and paused a moment; but there was nothing to be said, no memories which had not been leached of colour and joy by the past eleven years, and so with nothing more than a brief nod, she left the cliff top and turned towards home.

“On Dark Shores” Sample 1….

Morning all!

During the course of my edits, I have had to cut various parts of “On Dark Shores” because they were flashbacks or other backstory. In most cases leaving them in slowed the story down and, as my editors pointed out, the important bits could better be told in a few sentences that kept up the pace.

Although both editors were right, knowing a bit of the backstory might enrich the novel for you so rather than throw them away, it occurred to me that I could do a quick edit myself and post them up by way of a taster of the story and an introduction to some of the characters; however, do be aware that  these are the bits that have NOT been curated by editors / proof-readers and beta-readers – just myself!

Correspondingly, (and hopefully for your pleasure) here is the first of  the samples. As always, all comments welcome!

JAC

======================

“I’m sure you see my problem,”  Copeland drawled, toying with the papers on his desk. “If I let you have more time to pay the money back word would get around, and every ne’er-do-well in town would be begging for the same. It would be very bad for business.”

“Sir, I’m not one that finds it easy to beg, but if you say so, I’ll beg. My cargo was ruined in the great storm, when some fool of a sailor left the hatches open.”  Striding over to the window, agitated, the Captain did not see the smirk which passed across the moneylender’s face. “Please, let me have more time. If you take my ship my son and I will be without a home, without a livelihood and without honour. The Black-Eyed Susan is my life; I’ve sailed in her forty years, man and boy. My son was born aboard her and my wife, God rest her soul, died there not three days ago.” He turned back stiffly. “I’m begging you, sir; give me a little more time. I’ll pay whatever you ask….”

Copeland was not listening to the Captain; he was picturing the Black-Eyed Susan. The ship was sleek and fast and, with his own man at the helm, would pay him well for all the trouble to which he had gone to get hold of her….

The silence grew. Captain Vansel’s face was gaunt with grief and loss; anxiously running one hand through his greying hair, only iron self-control kept him going. The doctor had sworn that a very expensive treatment would cure his wife’s illness; that the treatment had failed so spectacularly was incomprehensible to the Captain – though less so to Copeland  who had suggested the scheme in the first place.

“My dear Captain, if you didn’t want to part with the boat, you shouldn’t have put her up as security for the loan. Your allotted time is up; give me the money or leave at dawn tomorrow. Those were my terms, and as you have failed to make your payments you leave me no choice.”  He opened a drawer, took out a penknife and began to pare his nails. “Are you still here, Captain? I do assure you, there’s nothing further to be said.”

“Mr Copeland… another month… a week… I beg of you…”

“Blakey!” The door opened to reveal a bear of a man. “Ah, Blakey, the good Captain here was just leaving. Until dawn, Captain.”

“No, Copeland! My ship! My good name! Not for my sake, but my son’s, I beg you -”

“What ship? What good name?” Copeland enquired smoothly. “You forget yourself, Captain; as of five minutes ago you’re possessed of neither.”

“You leech! You damned-”

Copeland returned to his tattered leather chair as the Captain’s voice broke off into an abrupt hiss of breath. Another day, tediously like every other. It would be refreshing to have someone actually pay the whole sum on time for once; still, though novel, it would hardly be profitable. No, these tedious little scenes were simply another part of his everyday affairs, and the price of his occupation.

He paused to listen. The Captain, if he had any sense, would resign himself to the inevitable and leave. Blakey was a man whose job appeared to be remarkably well-suited to his natural temperament, and he had dealt with many a similar scene before this. No, to judge by the muffled thumps and thuds in the stairwell, the Captain had more determination than sense – and less money than either, like so many of Copeland’s clients.

The moneylender turned to look out of the window at the bloody sunset. “The doctor did his job well; and it seems that Able Seaman Hardy has done as required. However, I don’t recall having it recorded anywhere that his sabotage of the cargo should offset the money I loaned him; and besides, as the new owner of the Susan, I can scarcely let that sort of thing go unpunished…”

A short time later, Blakey knocked on the door. “What do you want me to do with the Captain, Mr Copeland?”

“Leave him somewhere near the ship; we wouldn’t want him to be late in leaving tomorrow. Oh, and ask around until you find our good friend Able Seaman Hardy.”

“Yes, Mr Copeland. Do you want to see him?”

The moneylender stretched one hand in front of him and examined the pink little nails absently. “No; precisely the reverse. I don’t want to see him. And I think it’d be for the best if no-one else does – unless he can be persuaded him of the benefits of silence, of course.”

“Right you are, Mr Copeland.” The bodyguard grinned crookedly. “I can be very persuasive when I need to be.”

“That’s why I employ you, Blakey. Now, I believe you have business to attend to…?”

Copeland listened to the bodyguard’s heavy tread as he dragged the former Captain over his shoulder and hauled him away to regain consciousness elsewhere. An efficient man in his own way, Blakey, but lacking in imagination.  Still, Copeland mused, seeing what the man was capable of without it,  it was possibly just as well.

Blakey made his way down to the docks in the gathering dusk, slinging the Captain down in an alley on his way to the Black Cat brothel where he expected to find the man’s crewmember. He was mildly surprised that the man was still unconscious but, hurrying off, he did not notice  the greyness of his face nor the frothing sound of the Captain’s breathing as it slowed to a stop.

Dawn approached, and the crimson sky was stark against the white sails as the Black-Eyed Susan slipped silently out of the harbour. On her deck lay the body of her Captain, grey and cold; and at her tiller a slender dark-haired boy, half-blinded with tears and rage, turned one last look on the town and vowed vengeance for the death of his father.

= = = =

On Dark Shores is available from Amazon US and UK – see appropriate link below

US:

UK:

 

Some useful tips / links – and thanks.

Wotcha peeps:

Further to last week’s excerpt, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who took the time to read it and give feedback, whether here, on the forums or by email; your feedback is much appreciated!

For anyone that is interested in improving their own writing style, here are some of the useful bits of information and style-hints that I’ve collated from all your answers. Hope you find them interesting and / or useful – and if you have any other tips to add, please do – you know where the comment box is.

 1) Take out as many uses of was/had etc as possible. Apparently a typical beginner’s error is to use them too much, ie “was waiting” instead of “waited” or “had eaten” instead of “ate”. Though there are small differences of meaning between the different uses of the verb, the point is that when you use “was waiting” the reader is reading a description of what the character is doing (thus adding a layer of distance between reader and action) whereas when you say “waited” the reader has to imagine the action happening, and because there is no layer of description getting in the way, it makes it all a lot more immediate and gripping.  (Show don’t tell, remember?) Same with other “layers” that aren’t necessary, like “seemed to” “became aware of” etc.

Example: He had waited in the shadows, hiding until he became aware that she was walking round the corner. He had snatched the hat she was wearing and was running away as she yelled “Stop” and lobbed a small donkey at him.

Should be: He waited in the shadows, hiding until she walked round the corner. He snatched the hat she wore and ran away as she yelled [etc]

2) “He said / she remarked / they commented / it mused” etc etc. These are used too often and slow down the text unnecessarily – either transfer what they thought into reported speech or leave out attributions where poss. If you know there are two people having a conversation it is fairly obvious who is speaking once you’re into it.

Example:

“Why did you throw a donkey at me?” he asked.

“Why did you nick my hat?” she countered.

“Because it’s a nice colour and it would suit me” he told her, amazed that she could not see this.

“You’re a nutter!” she muttered, and left, hat in hand.

Should be:

 “Why did you throw a donkey at me?” he asked.

“Why did you nick my hat?”

“Because it’s a nice colour and it would suit me.” Surely this was obvious?

“You’re a nutter!” Hat in hand, she left.

Useful websites:

Ray Rhamey – Flogging the Quill

April L Hamilton – Indie Author

I’m sure there’ll be others so I’ll try to add any more sites to my Links page as I find them.

=======

As a newbie, it’s been really useful to have my bad habits pointed out, because it’s very difficult to see that sort of thing for yourself (obviously, or you’d have stopped it by now!). Also I’ve been sent in the direction of a variety of websites that have interesting or insightful points on them – always good to have a read and see what tips you can get from writers of really snappy prose.

I’ve been going through my story and have done a quick edit based on the feedback I received. Reading through it afterwards, I think the amount of difference made by a couple of small stylistic tips has been tremendous. I’m about to send it off to my second editor and proof-reader, and he seems to be quite excited at the altered first chapter (though he hasn’t seen the rewritten bits yet) so I figure I can’t have gone far wrong with it so far.

The other thing I wanted to say was that I’ve been really impressed by the constructiveness and the positivity of the comments I’ve had in all three arenas, and from feeling really fed-up and a bit lost in it all, your feedback has completely re-enthused me about my editing. Yes – you read that correctly, folks – I am actually really enjoying the process again! You should all be impressed by the power of your words and positivity, and if – WHEN – “On Dark Shores” finally does hit Kindle, you should all know that each of you has had a hand in getting it there…

My thanks to all!

JAC