Tag Archive: useful links

Hey all:

This week I have been invited by Theresa Cole to do a guest blog on Fade into Fantasy.net

Please check it out there, and do leave a comment if you have anything to add!
Thanks, peeps!

Look what I found this morning!


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!


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…!


Laydeeez and gentlemen, I give you:


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!


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.


“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!