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Showing posts from July, 2015

Don't Be Afraid - by Kristin D Van Risseghem

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Hello! I’m guest posting today. My name is Kristin D. Van Risseghem and I’m an author. Don’t be afraid to say it. Writing isn’t my day job, but I do write, so therefore I am a writer. Sometimes you may have to say this a few times. Try it out, then say it again.
I didn’t start out thinking I would be a published author. When I was little, I wanted to be a lawyer. Even went to school to be a paralegal and was supposed to go onto to law school, but for some reason I didn’t. I stayed as a paralegal for 19 years. I know some of you may have always wanted to be a writer … so, be one. I hadn’t written anything since high school. Sure I wrote memos or depos for college, but nothing like a story. Now later in life, I tried my hand at a YA Urban Fantasy story.
Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. By this I mean if you want to write about something, do it. If it’s not something you’ve ever tried, do it anyway. Try it. Maybe the topic isn’t what’s hot right now. So what? Or maybe it’s a passé t…

Getting together ... - Karen Bush and Authors Electric

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Someone asked me recently about collaborating on a book with another author. I’ve done
quite a few and so far they’ve all been a joy to do and I’ve always learned a lot during the process. The best advice I could offer though, was to only write with people you like, respect and get along with: it’s a policy I’ve always followed and has allowed us to thrash out disagreements over content in an amicable way, to have a happy time doing the book and to remain friends afterwards.
Creating an anthology should be a piece of cake in comparison, but it requires a different sort of collaboration: it’s more to do with organisation than actual creative input. First of all there is the tossing up in the air of the idea of doing one in the first place – to be honest I can’t understand why we haven’t produced one before, as we all write fiction … 

Sue Price: I can't, either, Karen. I mean, we all write fiction - what better way to introduce our work to a new audience than an anthology of short st…

More rambling through the wilderness: N M Browne

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I fear that all my posts here have been a bit writing obsessed. That’s because I am a bit writing obsessed.I am still wading through the quagmire of story, still in the wilderness trying to hack back the undergrowth with a blunt machete to find my way.
I am sorry if that makes my posts a bit samey. It is making my life a bit samey too: like a video on loop. I keep returning to the same sentences, changing them, then rereading them and changing them again. You see, I have to sound like a twelve-year old boy and the prolix middle-aged woman keeps on sneaking out through inappropriate qualifiers, peeping out through syntax that ought to have died with the Edwardians. She is a pain this middle aged woman. She will keep mucking up the flow of the story with random passages of overwritten prose. Then when I walk away from my desk, make yet another hot beverage I take pity on her. She’s doing her best, not everything she does is dreadful, she’s just out of touch. Oh shit! She’s me.
How can…

Alzheimers, SPILLIKINS and THE TIME TREE by Enid Richemont

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A little while ago, I was sent a signed copy of Tabitha Suzuma's Young Adult novel, Hurt. As with many online writer 'friends' on Facebook, ours has grown into something gratifyingly like a real friendship, and since we both live in London, I have no doubt that, one day, we will meet. Pain is something we share - mine from losing David and hers for very different and more complex reasons.

I rarely finish reading a complex and challenging novel in a day, but that Sunday was a bad day for me - Sundays tend to be - so because it was an unexpected gift, I began reading it. I am a slow reader (David, by contrast, was a book-gobbler) so I didn't expect it to occupy my whole day, but it did. The writing is exquisite, and the plot brilliant. It's not easy to grab a reader's attention right up to the last word, but she did it. Please don't be put off by its "Young Adult" labelling - so many Y/A novels are crossover, and this one certainly was. Incidentally,…

The Society of Authors Campaigns for All of Us - Andrew Crofts

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As I get close to the end of my three year stint serving on the Management Committee of the Society of
Authors, I want to sing the praises of the staff there who do the most magnificent job of supporting members who are being treated unfairly or who simply need professional advice.
Writing is one of the hardest jobs from which to make a living wage and it is hugely comforting for members to know that they have this dedicated team of enormously experienced and efficient lawyers and publishing contracts experts willing to fight on their behalf.
On July 7th I attended a summer party on the terrace at the Houses of Parliament, thrown by the All Party Parliamentary Writers’ Group, at which the SoA’s constantly campaigning Chief Executive, Nicola Solomon, laid out the Society’s “magnificent seven requirements” for writers’ contracts – spelling out the acronym “CREATOR”. They are well worth repeating here.
Contracts need to be clear and should exist for all writers, including journalists.
Remune…

Don't Lose Your Head, Follow Your Heart by Ruby Barnes

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A very brief post from me this month, and a shameless plug for my new release.

I have two main interests - writing and karate - and recently found a way to combine them. The novels I have so far punished the world with include an odd mix of drama, tragedy, human failure, sex and violence. It takes me one to two years to complete a book. This year I wanted to try and write something light and fast, giving myself a daily target of at least a thousand words, but I was lacking a subject. While ruminating on a topic for a new writing project, I threw myself into the world of karate which I have inhabited over the past four years.

The club I'm a member of has an interesting mix of disciplines - sport karate (fairly traditional but without all the Japanese words), semi-contact sparring with full protective gear, weapons, self-defence, something for everyone who wants to work up a sweat and get rid of some day job aggression. My weapon of choice is the katana or sword. Samurai sword sort o…

Kindle Kids by Susan Price

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In between bouts of editing the Sterkarms, I've been having a look at Kindle Kids' Book Creator.
I'm interested because I'm hoping to publish some picture books, with my brothers as illustrators.

So, what does the Kindle Kids' Book Creator offer?

It allows you to import art work in jpeg, tif or png format (it says here. The only one of them I know anything about is jpeg.)

It recommends, however, that you save your book as 'a multi-paged PDF file,' with the cover included as the first page, and upload it like that - which is what my brothers and I will be doing.

The part that really interests me, though, is the 'text pop-ups.'

Since the text will probably be embedded in the art-work, and might be viewed on the small screen of a mobile phone, it will be quite hard to read. Kindle Kids allows you to programme in a 'text pop-up'  - that is, to add a window into which you type your text. When a reader taps on this it will 'pop-up', allowing th…

The stories we tell of ourselves -Jo Carroll

As you read this, I'm on my way to a funeral. I have agreed to 'say a few words.' So I shall probably be driving round the M25 working out what I'm going to say.

I lie. I'm not quite that disorganised. But I won't have it written down to the last comma, either. Instead I'll have a card or two to remind me, and then speak as I feel. This - I promise - is not the same as 'winging it.' It is, rather, a half-way - a gathering of ideas so that I have a rough structure and then responding to the feelings of the moment.

I will have 2-3 minutes so sum up the 60+ years I've known her. And somehow I need to do that without diminishing her.

But it has got me thinking - not only about the woman I need to speak about, but about the stories we tell of ourselves. Isn't that what we all try to do of ourselves - that 140 characters on Twitter, the baby biographies on Facebook? We reduce our complexities to soundbites in the hope that we can, somehow, use tho…

Lev Butts Takes His Stand

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As I came back from my trip to Kansas City last month, on June 18, 2015, I was faced with the horrendous story of Dylan Roof, who had the night before murdered nine unarmed African-Americans as they worshipped in one of the oldest historically black churches in the country.

Roof, a home grown terrorist and white supremacist, allegedly entered the church during prayer meeting, attended services for about an hour, then opened fire killing nine and wounding a tenth. He was quickly identified and apprehended and is currently awaiting trial.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, focus shifted to the Confederate flag flying on the state capitol grounds. See, after the shooting, all flags on the grounds were lowered to half-mast to honor the dead, except for the Confederate battle flag which flies, not on the capitol building, but on its grounds nearby. There were two reasons this flag was not lowered: it was forbidden by law for the flag to be altered in anyway without permission of the Gener…

Antidotes to writing, by Ali Bacon

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Writers write, right? And for many of us there are so many other things to do that writing fills all the available spare time that’s going. But I recently got into an odd situation of doing too much writing or applying too much of my headspace to a single writing project - and it wasn’t working. The novel had ground to a halt and parts of it had been written and rewritten to a point where I felt I was simply moving words around in the hope that they would fall into place like one of those old sliding puzzles. Of course there was no perfect solution but that didn’t stop me going round in ever-decreasing circles. I decided to down tools. Since then I have meandered back to some bits of writing but I’m a lot more aware of the importance of the other things I do and it’s made me think about how and why they contribute to my sanity.
Making and doing
I used to joke I took up writing because I was no good at knitting. But in fact that’s not true. I’m not a very ‘handy’ person, but  I like knit…

Chaos at the Car Boot and the Magic of Random by Pauline Chandler

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Parents, teachers, friends and casual acquaintances have, over the years, noticed how untidy I am, and failed, with all their well-intentioned comments, to change me.  I LOVE chaos. I do! I’m averse to order and routine, especially that imposed by other people. I dislike plans and ‘organised’. It feels anti-life.  By the side of my armchair, my nest, is my ‘pile’ of stuff. Books, notebook, diary, address book, photo albums of my grandchildren, sweets, aspirins, knitting, the stuff of me.  
Upstairs in my office, it’s the same : desk, shelves, floor, piled high with stuff, all of it precious chaos. My notebooks the same, my mind the same, a mish-mash of untidy thoughts, memories, anxieties, plans, regrets, what ifs and shoulds, as  well as those magical random moments, those beautiful experiences, usually for me in my garden, the flash of a goldfinch,  a new flower, a party of jays on the lawn.

Are all writers the same? To begin with my books are extremely chaotic, a jumble of scraps…