Author: Lynne Fellows

Dreams can come true and mine was to live in Spain forever and ever ....  Well, after studying languages many years ago I became totally enamoured with all things Spanish, I finally made the big move for a more 'relaxed' lifestyle in 2003.  Since then, I have been teaching Spanish to Ex-pats and translating. Also, I trained as a Community Manager (Social Media) so that I have a genuine excuse to be on Facebook, Twitter and the Internet for hours on end, but then I started to write. My first attempt was for NaNo 2012 with 'The Nasrid Charm' (a story set in Spain and the Afterlife.) Like most first drafts, this is in need of serious revision and has been placed on the backburner, while I pursue my mystery stories. I'll get back to it - one day :) 

Looking for some noir fiction?

Look no further.

Welcome to Central City

is the latest book by Adam C. Mitchell, and includes three hard-boiled noir novellas and a gripping short story, all following private eyes, detectives and crooks.

Each tale is set against the backdrop of the 1940’s….

No wonder an early reviewer calls it “reminiscent of Bogey and Bacall”.

With comments like “gritty, dark and dangerous”  this is a book that will delight readers who enjoyed “Sin City”.

But if that’s not enough to tempt you in, how about a brief excerpt:

Ready to one-click?

You can get your copy from Amazon via this link:  Welcome to Central City

Enjoy the stories and be sure to leave a review for the author.

Reviews keep authors writing.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Do you want to make your ebooks look pretty?

In the past I’ve used Pronoun for my ebooks, with fairly decent results. In fact, the first time I created an e-book with them I was delighted with the formatting. It was leaps and bounds better than a simple Word upload (mainly because I didn’t have Word – and still don’t – on my laptop). I loved the style options that made my book look a little fancier. A range of swirly or dotty scene breaks (depending on the style selected) added another touch of personality to my text. But … there had to be a but, didn’t there? I’ve since seen better. And, as always, I want better.

The easy option would be to pass the buck: find an established formatter and send my files to them. But, as with everything, it costs money. Assuming I did that each time I wanted to release a new book (which, granted, isn’t all that often) then it would be another cost to add to the growing list of necessary expenditure. After editing and proofreading there is little left in the coffers to justify further expense. So, the answer was to learn how to do it myself.

Well, I like a challenge and if it’s going to save me money and look more attractive and professional, then what did I have to lose? I know you’re going to say that Pronoun and D2D are free to use – and they are both perfectly good alternatives. Except, as I said … I’ve seen better. Besides, without Word on my laptop all files I uploaded to Pronoun always created problems. It is clear that using a LibreOffice file masquerading as a Word file is fraught with hidden issues.

Besides, I write in Scrivener anyway, so that always adds another step to the process. Of course, I can compile my Scrivener file as a Word document, but as soon as I open it to check in LibreOffice those pesky formatting gremlins come out to play. It’s not much fun, I promise you.

For 10 euros I purchased a Udemy course (on sale from 180€) which taught me how to format a file for a print run. I’m chuffed with the results, as you can see below. Not bad for a first attempt. 

So, how hard could it be to adapt that same file for an e-book? Of course, firstly it was out with the headers and footers, but the rest should have been straightforward, don’t you think? Except, once again the incompatibilities between LibreOffice and Word came to visit, and they definitely outstayed their welcome. I was getting pretty cheesed off by now and considered buying a licence for Microsoft Office. But, I held my ground. Just after I saw the price and then knowing it was an annual cost. Hell, no! I’d master this formatting lark if it killed me.

With a file eventually fit for Pronoun, I uploaded it, only to find the choice of style options had increased (yay! you might think) and I didn’t really like any of them. I choose the one I disliked least and went for it. Firstly, the chapter headings fiasco I’d experienced last time returned with a vengeance. But I knew the solution – or rather a workaround. (Fortunately, this was a short book!!!) Then there was the issue of a first paragraph indent – which I didn’t want and hadn’t formatted it that way in my upload. Nothing enabled me to start chapter one without an indented paragraph. Nothing! That’s just not on. I didn’t want an indented first chapter. No-one does! So, I’m waiting on another workaround from the helpdesk (who are very good, I might add). I’d just rather not have a list of workarounds to use each time, especially with a style I didn’t really like. (I mentioned I’d seen better, didn’t I?)

In the end – while I’m waiting for the fudge – I decided to check out more options. Ideally, I’d love to have Vellum. But, it’s for Mac only, and buying a Mac is a step too far. However, I think I’ve found the very next best thing. It’s called Jutoh. It lets me import files from LibreOffice (no need for Word). I can apply the formatting techniques I learnt in the Udemy course or I can use the features within Jutoh itself. I can have fancy heading scrolls, glyphs galore, dropped caps … everything. It can create mobi, epub, and about 10 other different file variations. I’ve used the demo version to see if it can do what I want – and it can – plus more I haven’t even thought of yet.

Okay, so it’s not free. I need to buy a one-time licence for 33€ (39$) and will get free upgrades as they occur. But that’s cheaper than buying Word or a Mac (and yes, I could still use the other free options without all this hassle, but I like having complete control) I shall continue to write in Scrivener (which is the best software I own), compile my files to LibreOffice, upload to Jutoh and use my new formatting skills to produce a pretty e-book every time. I’ll post a photo on here of my next book as it appears on my Kindle shortly.

It’s going to be great – I just know it!

Thank you for reading!

PS – If you’re interested in knowing more, I learnt about Jutoh from MyBookCave. Check it out.

PPS – Pronoun and D2D also publish your ebooks to a number of sites in just a few clicks, so they’re definitely a great option for those with limited time.

 

 

Rekindling The Nasrid Charm

It’s been a while since I worked on this story – it was my very first NaNoWrimo effort in 2012, although it has had many restructures since then. Even though I’ve enjoyed getting stuck into my Blackleaf series, every now and then I like to revisit what I’ve done before.

So, to get back into the swing of The Nasrid Charm, I’ve re-read the beginning and feel enthused that I can finally make good with this story. I’ve already determined it will be a series of ten novellas. Yes, ten – I know – but bear with me, it’s a long story spanning a millennium.

And, as luck would have it, I’ve found my sorcerer, Ramelius, too. He’s the main character in book one – A Life Lost – and will feature throughout the series.

Clearly, there’s an element of fantasy attached to the series – which will become clear when readers see the origin of The Nasrid Charm and its powers. However, it’s not just a fantasy, a great deal of the story has its feet firmly grounded in the real world, spanning several eras from Medieval Spain, The Spanish Civil War and modern-day Spain & Britain.

Book One takes us from 1100 AD – The Nasrid Kingdom of Granada to Penance – a holding place between Elysium and The Abyss (aka Heaven & Hell) – where Ramelius is dispatched to live out his Afterlife and manage those who are chosen to bear the powers of The Nasrid Charm.

 

Book Two – A Life Saved – tells the story of Soraya, the first ring bearer chosen by Ramelius and his fellow Penance colleagues. Soraya hails from a doctor’s family in 15th Century Spain and has ambitions to follow in her father’s footsteps – until the King summons the family to court. From this point on, Soraya’s life takes some disastrous turns and it is only through The Nasrid Charm that her life is saved. However, she doesn’t make life easy for Ramelius and her outspoken manner and unorthodox ideas challenge and frustrate the sorcerer’s plans.

Soraya, by virtue of her wilful ways, is recruited into Penance upon her death, for she must find the next ring bearer but cannot be trusted (according to Ramelius) to have free rein over the decision.

I’ll post more covers for the next books soon, in the meantime I’ll work on polishing books one and two, ready for release in May 2018, with others set to follow shortly after.

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 🙂

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