Showing posts from December, 2011

Guest Author - Mary Nichols

When I began writing many moons ago, it was done by hand and then laboriously copied onto a typewriter with a carbon copy. If I made a mistake it was out with the tippex or rip the page out and start again. With my first royalties I bought a golf ball typewriter, huge and heavy, but it dealt with mistakes more easily. The next step was an Amstrad word processor, then a PC and learning  to use Word, but even so, manuscripts had to be printed out and posted. Then came the internet and email and life became a whole lot easier. I now submit my books and correct proofs by email. And now we have ebooks. After having over fifty novels published in the traditional way, I have put my toe in the water of e-book publishing on my own account. It was a steep learning curve, but with considerable help from my daughter-in-law and loads of advice from my friends in the Romantic Novelists Association who have taken the plunge before me, I now have three books to go alongside those my publishers hav

Guest Author - Marianne Wheelaghan

Throwim Way Leg Literally translated the New Guinea pidgin expression throwim way leg means 'to throw away your leg'. Slightly less literally, it means to thrust out your leg and take the first step of what could be a long march (ie: to go on a journey!). I lived in the Pacific area for nearly ten years and three were spent in Papua New Guinea. At first glance the language seems na├»ve and downright silly – I can't help but chuckle when I hear it – but for all its apparent simplicity, New Guinea pidgin can be very subtle. Papua New Guinea is  – after Greenland – the world's largest island and home to 1000 languages, one-sixth of the world's total. The topography is so rugged that until the arrival of aircraft, tribes in adjacent valleys were often completely isolated. Until a few generations ago, some of the  peoples in the highlands mounted well planned raids on villages, kidnapping children and killing (and even eating) their  parents. Under such conditions, to

A New Year - and some resolutions - by Hywela Lyn

I hope you all had a very Happy Christmas and that 2012 will be good to you! Another year over and I have a confession to make.  I've had so much going on since Christmas, what with making arrangements to visit my family in Wales, which includes arranging for someone to feed my two horses , and making a last minute cake to take with us, and purchasing and wrapping gifts for my sister's Birthday on the 2nd -  not to mention trying to get two on-line interviews finished ( I know, excuses, excuses)  I almost forgot that it's my turn to post today. So - I need to make some New Year Resolutions: 1.  To be more organised, to structure my day and not leave things until the last  minute! 2.  To not check email or Facebook until I've written or revised at least 2,000 words per day. 3.  To finish the third book in my trilogy by February and to start work on my NaNo with a view to self publishing it. Only three, I hope I can keep them but No2 is going to be very difficult.  I


This post has been published in S parks, A Year In E-Publishing - An Authors Electric Anthology 2011-2012. It has therefore been temporarily reverted to draft status to comply with amazon KDP Select's requirements.

A Gift in Bangkok, by Andrew Crofts

I was sent to Bangkok as a gift this month. I was to be presented at a party to the host, who had long said he wanted to write a book and whose family thought he would welcome the help of a ghost. The family did not ask me to go to the Orient gift-wrapped, but they did ask me to take with me a mock-up of a possible cover of the book, so that there would be something tangible to be handed over, something that would show instantly what the gift was. That got me thinking about the place for printed books now that we are all concentrating so hard on understanding the dynamic of the electronic versions. This imaginative idea of the book as a prestigious gift would not have worked so well if presented in e-book form. It would have lacked the cultural resonance of the print version. The recipient of the gift would not have been able to pick it up, turn it over in his hands and pass it round the guests who had assembled for the presentation beneath the hotel’s palm trees. E-books are undoubte

Bad Backs and New Year Dreams - by Rosalie Warren

As I write this, just before Christmas, I'm feeling rather sorry for myself. I have a sore throat and a cough, which get much worse if I lie flat. I also have a painful back, which complains unless I spend every alternate hour or so lying flat on it! Sitting at a desk, even on my new super-dooper-bad-back-chair, is impossible for more than five minutes at a stretch. I have shopping, baking and cleaning to do, guests arriving for Christmas, a father up in Yorkshire who needs lots of help from me, his only daughter, and - urrgghhh, I won't go on... (Btw, I know, really, that I have many things to be thankful for and am much, much better off than some. But if you remind me of that, some nasty primitive reflex might be triggered and I might try to kick you, so please beware...) A kind Twitter friend just recommended that I try lying on my tummy in order to type on my laptop, placed on a stool at the end of my bed. It works, at least for a short time, and I'm very grateful for h


          All of us Electric Authors here at Authors Dreaming Central wish our readers a very happy Christmas.           It's Christmas Day, so I don't suppose many people are going to read this - apart from the odd one taking a breather from the festivities.  But for those who do, here's a short and rather sweet Christmas story, inspired by my own family's Christmas memories.... THE CHRISTMAS TREES           'Oh look! Look! The chimney sweep! Oh, I used to love him!' Jennifer held up a small glass globe which tapered, at the top and bottom, into delicate glass spikes. It was a perfect, pale lavender in colour, neither too red nor too blue. The translucent glass sphere attracted light and held it, like a bubble.             Painted round it was a dark-blue silhouette of a chimney sweep carrying a long ladder on his shoulder, and another silhouette of an old-fashioned lamp-post. White blobs of snow fell around the sweep

A Poem For Christmas Eve - Avril Joy

Any soldier in the trenches  in 1915 who happened to read a copy of The Times for 24th December might have seen Thomas Hardy's poem  The Oxen. It was first published in this edition and printed alongside news of the devastating conflict that was ravaging Europe. It appeared alongside an advertisement for Bovril -which claimed to give strength to the men in the trenches! When I was seventeen I was given this poem by my English teacher to read aloud at the Christmas Carol Service. I learned it by heart and every Christmas Eve without fail it comes back to me. I didn't know, until recently, when and where it was first published, or that 'in these years' referred to the years of the Great War. I hadn't fully grasped its context. But I instinctively felt its poignancy, its air of regret and I understood the folk traditions from which it came and which meant so much to Hardy. I loved its language too: the comfort of words like 'combe' which were a part of my W

The glitzy showbiz life of a writer... - Simon Cheshire

Here's a true story. A couple of years ago, it had been arranged for me to do a talk and a signing session at a bookshop situated in the middle of a very large and very busy shopping mall (I can tell this story now 'cos the shop - and indeed the mall - are no longer there). A pretty big deal for me - I'd never done a bookshop signing before. Some classes from nearby schools were going to be bussed in, and the local press would be there. The day of the event dawned after a night in which I was sleepless with excitement. To cut a very long story short, I arrived at the bookshop with seconds to spare (the train was late, and my station-to-shop map was rubbish), and dripping wet (the rain had started belting down seconds after I left home). Holy moley, I thought, what a journey, at least I got here in one piece, and I am at least on time. Phew. I went into the bookshop. Hello, I'm Simon Cheshire. The staff gave me a funny look. Who? Umm... I'm Simon Cheshire? The

Help! My NCX file is missing.- Diana Kimpton

Self publishing for the Kindle is easy – you just follow the instructions in Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing guide and let the Mobi Pocket Creator do the work for you. Trouble is, if you download the Amazon Kindle previewer and test your ebook on it you'll find that clicking one of the buttons gives the worrying result: Missing NCX file Judging by many of the ebooks I read, not all publishers and indie authors realise what this is or that their book would be better if it had one. NCX stands for Navigational Control for XML application and the NCX file creates the little marks called 'nav points' that you sometimes see on the progress bar at the bottom of the screen. If they are there, you can skip backwards and forwards along the bar between nav points using the 5 way controller. Without them, readers can only navigate through the book using the page forward and back keys, the search facility or, if the publisher has provided one, with the interactive table of content


A month ago, after twenty years in publishing, I launched my first e-book. Now it's feedback time. Three words spring to mind when I ask myself how it went. Panic. Exhilaration. Exhaustion. In that order. Even the most careful planning can go awry. Everything was lined up to happen at the push of a button. Book launched on Kindle, click . New look Pauline Fisk website launched with fabulous new ‘Midnight Blue’ artwork, click . Authors Electric posting launched entitled ‘Why Now, Why an E-Book and Why Kindle’, click . Mailshot launched to two hundred and fifty addresses, click . But you can’t launch anything without the internet. At five in the morning [yes, so keen was I to get launching that I was up at five] I was to be found on the phone to a BT engineer trying to figure out what had gone wrong. After an hour of phone calls back and forth, involving crawling under my desk, pulling out plugs and reinstating them and being sent to obscure corners of my computer to click the ‘

The accidental blogger: more than just a platform - by Roz Morris

Most w riters are advised to start blogging as a career move. But in 2009 I’d never heard of ‘platform’. I started a writing blog because I felt like it. Like many writers with a traditional publishing background, I networked one to one - meetings, parties and email discussions. My writer friends had websites, but I didn’t because I had no books out under my name. Even though my agent was out crusading with my first novel as me ( My M emories of a Future Life ) we never discussed ‘platform’. One day a web-savvy friend in the games industry was telling me about blogging, and set me up with a Wordpress ID. I wrote a few posts. It was fun; my own writers’ observatory - looking at real life with a storyteller’s eye. Writerly friends enjoyed my posts. Non-writerlies were spared a lot of abstruse conversations. When I didn’t post for two weeks, the teenage son of some friends - who I thought would have cooler pastimes - told me I was overdue for a post. Since that day, I have tak

Electric Memories - Karen King

I read this article in the Daily Mail not long ago about the skills that are being lost forever because of modern technology, everyday things such as writing a letter, printing photos and sending postcard as well as skills like reading a map. It made me think about what information we are leaving our ancestors about life in the 21st Century. Many of the things we've learnt from the past have come from written letters, diaries and records. We know lots of information about the Great Fire of London, the Great Plague, the Coronation of Charles 11 and other events from the 1660's from the diaries of Samuel Pepys:  We know about the early Saxons and life in the middle ages from written records such as the writings of Bebe or the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Letters, records and photographs tell us about the World Wars and other historical events.

A Traditional Polish Christmas - Catherine Czerkawska

My dad. My late father came to Yorkshire from Poland, at the end of the war, with one of the Polish regiments attached to the British army. He came via Italy and Monte Cassino, so he was lucky to survive. In Yorkshire, still a young man, he worked in a textile mill for a while - it was compulsory for 'refugee aliens' -  met and married my English-Irish mother, Kathleen, and went to night school, cycling home through smoky Leeds on wintry nights while I was a baby. By the time he retired, he was a distinguished scientist, working as a visiting expert for UNIDO, with a double doctorate: a DSc as well as a PhD in biochemistry. He died in 1995 and I still miss him, but I think I miss him and my mother most at Christmas, especially on Christmas Eve, because we always managed to have a Polish celebration meal, reserving the turkey and plum pudding for Christmas Day. My dad, my grandfather and grandmother, in Galicia, Eastern Poland It can't have been quite the same a

News Flash! (and less salubrious puns) by Dan Holloway

For me, being an electric author has always been about more than having my work available on one or more proprietory ebook reader. I joined the online writing world via variouos writing communities back in the hazy days of 2007/8 (OK, hardly those long lost days of youth, but that was basically the time I decided to write "for serious" at all), but it was in 2009 thatI really became an electric author, poking and prodding at digital possibilities, when I started writing The Man Who Painted Agnieszka's Shoes as an interactive piece of literary fiction on Facebook. It was that book through which I met many of the people I still work with most closely and started to get invited to blog across the web on all topics digital. Most of all, it made me realise how exciting it could be exploring for different ways to write. The most exciting form I've discovered has been flash fiction which may not necessarily a digital form of writing (there's even a flash fiction ca

A message from Scrooge By Jan Needle

One of the strangest things about being a published, or accepted, or arrived author is the possibility of earning a living. I guess most of us discovered early on in our 'careers' that there is often more money to be got from talking about it than actually doing it, and lots of schools (for instance) would far rather spend a fews tens, or even hundreds, of pounds on getting an author in than they would in buying his or her books. I have actually visited educational establishments (God spare the mark) that happily admitted they didn't have any of my books on the premises, and didn't know if any of their victims had ever read one. I've mentioned before how many of them don't even bother to check my gender. What's the idea, then? Usually the answer is something on the lines of 'encouraging the children to write.' I did go to a school in Sheffield once where an extremely chippy (on the shouldery) young teacher told me that it was an easy way of making a

The past is another country: by Dennis Hamley

There have been a few blogs recently about our early reading adventures. I was especially interested to read of Ann's encounters with Alice and Lewis Carroll. Such musings always lead me to pondering on my own formative literary influences and I keep coming back to a fateful Christmas in 1944. 1944. Yes, a very fraught year indeed. People kept telling me we were going to win the war. I hardly listened to them; I was nine, I'd never doubted it and thought that anyone who didn't agree with me must be a bit stupid. I'd learnt to read - admittedly after a bit of a struggle - two years before but apart from stories of two characters (whether human or animal I really can't remember) called Ponder and Plod and 'that silly little rabbit/Who had a naughty habit/of eating and eating all day/ Little bits of greenery /he found upon the scenery' until he had a very unpleasant experience indeed, I can't really remember any hugely emblematic figure in my literary d