Too busy to write? Not me!

The best part about being a writer is the writing (oh, and research – I  research), so it came as quite a shock when I realised that summer was over and I’d barely written a word.
The reason: Eddie & Marcia – aka editing and marketing (two words that fuel my procrastination like no others)

Editing, in the form of Eddie the Evil Reaper, is a natural by-product of the writing process, complete with scythe to chop away those words and trim your text.

He demands your complete attention, being one of those necessary evils. You just have to do his bidding and get on with it.

Fortunately, I’ve come to the end of the line and am now able to pass my WIP – Casualty of Court – onto my editor, who will no doubt cast the mighty red pen over all those changes I meticulously made in an attempt to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

Marketing, however, enters your life as a mischievous minx named Marcia, but who is known by the wise  as the very devil herself. Wearing a shiny dress and flapping her gossamer wings she offers all the treats in the world if you, the author, deign to share your book with her. She teases you with images of glittery success, forcing you to promote your stories in places you would otherwise fear to tread – SOCIAL MEDIA!

I played along though, running a promotion for Lacey’s Law that garnered more downloads than ever before. However, it didn’t translate into reviews, so Lacey continues to die a death in obscurity. Personally, I think Marcia is jealous of Lacey and so spiked the whole process – promising the world in one hand and then taking it back before any benefit could be found.

Magic O’Clock had much more success with The Story Cartel, where in a month it received several new Amazon reviews across different countries. The same could be said of Goodreads where Magic had a  growth spurt as well as featuring in some wonderful – and I truly mean fabulous – blog posts. Not even Marcia could knock the shine off Magic’s time in the spotlight.

But now the marketing must take a backseat as I work towards bringing Fern & Raven back into the limelight. The prequel – A Fifth Wheel – has been well received, but it’s time now to tell the rest of the story. Casualty of Court (as mentioned earlier) has gone to the editor …which means I have time to write. Yay!

Heirlooms & Heiresses is now under construction, and Fern & Raven are back again, this time as private investigators in their own agency – The Blackleaf Agency. This story requires some research, so I’m mixing up my time, writing and planning as the story unfolds. (Naturally, there is no outline, but I just don’t … !)

And while that’s rumbling on, I’m polishing off another short story – To make the birds cry – ready for release in a couple of months.

It’s great to be back at the writing stage – although I know Eddie and Marcia will return to spoil my fun in the not too distant future.

But in the meantime, I can safely say – too busy to write? Not me!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Advertisements

Does being a writer ruin you as a reader?

Don’t get me wrong, I still love reading. It’s just different now.

Before I ventured down this path of no return, I don’t remember being bothered whether the author ‘told’ the story, rather than ‘showed’ it. I didn’t even consider ‘whose POV is this from?’ or if the author was too descriptive/not descriptive enough. And I can honestly say – hand on heart – I didn’t notice ‘repetitive sentence starts’ or ‘crutch words’ and since when did ‘filter words’ become the big no-no?

Back in the day, I read voraciously (I still do), enjoying historical fiction or mysteries more than anything. The joy of reading then was pure escapism – not to dissect the story structure, interrogate the character’s mindset and prove beyond any doubt it was the butler “what dun’ it”. (It’ll come as no surprise that I hated English Lit with all my heart and grammar was something I had nightmares about).

So, what changed? Writing, that’s what.

I fell into the NaNo swamp and thought, ‘hey, I can get out, with a brilliant story to boot.’ But, truth was, I couldn’t. I wrote the necessary 50,000 words and could bore you rigid with the details of my story – the one that lies in a forlorn state on my external hard drive – but I won’t. (It’ll make a comeback one day – just you wait and see!)
When I realised how bad – nay, dire – my efforts were, then I took the only option available and sought out a critique group.

I would nail this writing lark if it killed me.

Until the dreaded feedback returned with comments like ‘this is a POV glitch’, ‘you’re head-hopping’, ‘what does the character want?’, ‘where’s the conflict?’ – I’ll not go on because the memories make me want to bang my head on the table (and I already got stunned by a falling ladder yesterday, but that’s another story!)

Can you switch this inner editor off when you read? I know I can’t … hell, I can’t even switch it off when I’m writing – if  that red, squiggly line shows up then I just have to fix it. But when I’m reading, this annoying new-found knowledge can spoil a good book (not that good you might say if I can find fault with it now). I sometimes think I’m too critical these days, fussing over a typo or a sentence in need of some punctuation. But it matters. Now. It didn’t before – when ignorance was bliss. But now it does.

What’s a person to do? Stop reading? That’s a “NO” from me. Maybe audiobooks are the way forward – if I can’t see them, maybe I won’t notice those pesky filter words. I might try that …

Watch this space.

Oh, and thanks for reading 🙂

Book Review – Contemporary Mystery

Highland Peril

A Malice Novel

by Amy M. Reade

Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view . . . 
 
Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.

My thoughts: The adventure in the Highlands starts with a prologue, which befits the historical element needed to tell this tale. Here the true story of the removal of the Honours of Scotland from Dunnottar Castle are told, albeit with a tasty twist that then spawns the rest of the book. While the prologue is quite factual and descriptive, the slow start proves effective when the story switches to a first person narrative set in modern times. The marked change in technique jolts the reader into the lives of Sylvie and Seamus, man and wife, and owners of a small Scottish gallery where they craft and sell Seamus’s paintings & Sylvie’s photographs – all inspired by the stunning landscapes surrounding Cauld Loch.

When a painting – that has been sitting quietly in Seamus’s gallery for many years – garners interest from two buyers, all sorts of questions arise. Why now? Why this painting? But it is only when the purchaser is later found dead following a car crash that all sorts of conspiracies come to the fore. The “accident” brings the police to their door and from hereon the Carmichaels’ lives are plunged into danger – both physical and marital. The author unites the two threads effortlessly, making the reader want to know a)who killed the buyer? b)where is the painting now? and c)will Sylvie & Seamus survive the ordeal – or rather, will their marriage?

Happily, the author immerses the reader fully into Scottish life, using British terms like ‘trousers’ and ‘mobile phones’ to keep the characters relevant and true. (Although I did spy a ‘sidewalk’ and the use of ‘bills’ as money too – but this says more about me being pernickety than anything else). The scenery is painted – pardon the pun – with great skill and diligence, worthy of any material the Scottish Tourist Board might issue.  I challenge any reader to not be enchanted by the imagery and want to immediately book a trip themselves.

The story moves at a good pace, it will keep you turning the pages – or scrolling – and there are many twists and turns ahead. The questions are neatly resolved by the end, but you will undoubtedly feel the need to read more by this author. It is a rare talent to combine history and mystery with contemporary settings, characters and situations. I could see these characters in a soap opera, they have great appeal but are thoroughly down-to-earth and believable. I loved the historical flavour and felt it made for an addictive plot.

Another great story from Amy M. Reade and one I’d recommend to any mystery reader with a love for history and Scotland.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and this is my own, voluntary review.

 

 

 

Who’s up for a Halloween Hop?

Want to increase followers/traffic on your Facebook page? Authors and bloggers are bringing a spooky good time to Facebook for Halloween! JOIN US! The Facebook Halloween Hopfest runs from Friday, October 27, 2017 through Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Register today by: – Adding the direct link to your Facebook AUTHOR page (NO groups, please!) – […]

via Author/Blogger Halloween Hop — Nesie’s Place

Review: MAGIC O’CLOCK, by L.S. Fellows

Such a beautiful and thoughtful review of “Magic”. I’m overwhelmed. Thank you, Iris

Author_Iris_Chacon

Magic O’Clock, by L.S. Fellows, has been rated five stars out of five by reviewer Iris Chacon. A complimentary ARC was provided to Iris for an honest, unbiased review.

magicoclock

Imagine that someone you loved very much simply disappeared. Imagine that you know they become visible again for an hour each day at three o’clock, and you go to that place every day at three just to see your loved one. You can’t talk to them or touch them or even reveal yourself to them, because if you do, they’ll disappear again immediately.

That’s the scenario presented in all its joy and pathos in L.S. Fellows’ short story/novella, Magic O’Clock. The story is so empathetic, enthralling, and eloquent that even readers who thought the subject of dementia held no interest for them will be delighted.

One is tempted at several points to simply stop in the middle of the narrative to…

View original post 251 more words

Does the book fairy exist?

It might be the cough medicine I’m taking, but I’m convinced strange things have been happening on Goodreads.

For those of you unfamiliar with Goodreads, it’s a social cataloging site for booklovers (readers & writers alike)

Authors can list their books for readers to find, read and (hopefully) review. There are many thriving communities, discussing a wide range of topics – whether you’re a Harry Potter fan, or have a penchant for the Classics, there’s a group for you.

However, as with most things that seem too good to be true, there is also a darker underbelly of trolls. The kind of people who take pleasure in leaving one star ratings without a comment, or even worse with the inexcusable comment of “I didn’t read this book”.

But this week I think I’ve come across the Book Fairy, or at least someone who wants to send positive vibes rather than spread evil poison.

The Book Fairy is leaving 4 and 5 star ratings willy nilly – all without comment. Could she possibly have waited to post all her ratings in one go, one the same day, or is she simply seeking to restore some balance?

We’ll never know, that’s for sure.

Regardless, these ratings – while much nicer to see 4 or 5 stars – still don’t attract new readers, If you’re anything like me, seeing a whole swarm of ratings without any comments doesn’t sway the decision to read that book one iota. Comments (or reviews, whatever you want to call them) don’t have to be long and no-one expects glowing reviews every time – so if you enjoyed a book,  tell everyone why. Conversely, if you didn’t enjoy it, feel free to say why also. You never know, your review might just be the one that helps a reader find a new favourite author – or you just might highlight something that helps a reader to avoid buying a book they most likely won’t enjoy. Either way it’s a service to the book-loving community. Not every book suits every reader and not every reader suits every book.

In the meantime, thank you to the Book Fairy for prompting me to write this post. I feel another swig of cough syrup coming on …and maybe it’s time to curl up with a good book too.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Featured Author – George M. Nagle

In the September spotlight from Mystery Authors International is George M. Nagle and his debut novel – The Life We Lead:Ascending – which is available to purchase now. There’s a trailer on YouTube that will give you an instant feel for the story. You can see it here.

What’s not to love about spies, romance, drug cartels and the like. The young protagonist, James, has been heralded as a mix between Bond & Holmes. It has to be good to receive that kind of accolade.

This is just the first in a series of what should be three books. At 425 pages, it is the shortest of the series and really the introduction to James, the group, Carissa and a whole cast of others.  The Life We Lead follows the life of James, the main character as he battles criminal syndicates while trying to have a normal life.  It is inspired by real life events, however, names, places, timelines and such have all been altered.  This story has been 25 years in the making and certainly won’t disappoint with an incredible ending to the series.  This series is based in reality of spying so the far-fetched gadgets and such like those found in James Bond won’t be appearing. It is a spy novel has lots of twists in turns that can make you laugh, cry, feel the characters outrage and even love.  The subtitle to the book is a clue to why it ends where it does too.

***

It’s a great cover, don’t you agree? Fancy a snippet? Of course you do.

Chapter 03 – [context:  James and Daen capture Nikolias after Petior has been abducted.]

“You are our prisoner, but you are a captive of whatever group you…” Daen began, but Nikolias cut him off.

“What makes you think I want to leave?” growled Nikolias.

“When you help us, your bosses will not be too happy with you. You and your cousin will need to leave to survive,” replied Daen.

“So he says,” Nikolias said curtly, with a head gesture towards James.

“What did he say? Why did he just do that?” asked James.

“Sounds like he doesn’t feel the need for our help. It seems he doesn’t want to, or have a reason to leave,” Daen replied, a puzzled look on his face.

“I am no traitor, and I will die to help our fraternity and country. I am loyal and believe in things, unlike you American dogs,” Nikolias stated in English.

James bowed his head, closed his eyes, and rubbed his left temple for a moment with his left hand. He dragged it down his face before speaking again.

“Okay, tell us what the fraternity’s cause is. What’s so special about it that you’re willing to risk your life, your cousin’s life, because someone felt I disrespected them near a train?” asked James.

Nikolias laughed. “We know you’re looking for drugs. You feel drugs are not disrespectful and destroying. You think we do not know that is why you are here? We see you peoples, and how you treat us. You all deserve death for your exploits on us, and our children.”

Check out the full blurb – I’m sure this will have you one-clicking in no time:

The DEA, FBI, and CIA have failed for years to bring down the Spara family, who control the world’s largest drug cartel. A secret society of spies whose members are under the age of 25 will try to succeed where the government has failed.

At only 21 years old, James is the most skillful member of this society. His new target is the Spara family. Through their relationship with Russia, the Sparas are the largest distributor of heroin in the world.  While beginning his investigation in Russia, James inadvertently saves the life of a former KBG officer who has a connection to the Tan family. This connection leads James farther into the heart of the criminal cartel.  However, the Tans have a dark secret of their own, which could jeopardize James’s perfect record and his tenure as a spy as he struggles to do what is right while protecting his family, friends and the love of his life.

***

George is the 3rd of 6 children and grew up in western Pennsylvania. He earned his BS in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, his MSc in Biology and his MBA in Marketing and Management from Duquesne University. He is also a Master 5th degree black belt in the art of Taekwondo with Young Brothers in Pittsburgh. He currently in a global marketing and strategy professional in science industries. He also has one son, Matthew.

Follow him and his series at any or all of these sites:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER  

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE

SMASHWORDS AUTHOR PAGE

Don’t forget to leave a review afterwards – reviews keep authors writing – and you’ll want to read the rest of this series, I’m sure.

Good luck with sales, George, and your push for those bestseller lists.