Showing posts from August, 2015

The Great Gorino - by Richard Rapaport

"Hello, this is Gore Vidal," the sardonic East Egg baritone from the receiver rendering identification redundant, "is Richard there?" I stammered a return greeting and his voice continued, "I read your story," and then halted.
That previous Sunday in June 1982, a story of mine about Gore Vidal's campaign for the California Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, had indeed run. The early '80s boom in newspaper classifieds at least partially explained the luxuriant length of my "perspective" piece entitled The Plight of the Writer in Politics which keyed off the upcoming Democratic primary pitting Vidal against soon-to-be-ex-Governor-and-later-to-be-Governor-again, Jerry Brown.
For most of an hour the novelist, screenplay-writer, wit, social critic, television personality, movie actor and, what few seemed to recognize, very much the politician, held forth. We talked about his Senate campaign and the primary election several weeks hence; Jerr…

The Newfoundland Vampire - Charles O'Keefe

While I’m not usually the most profound person (and I don’t think the Material Girl is either) there is a line from a Madonna song that goes an unexamined life is not worth living and I have to agree with her. I think one of the best parts about being a creative person is the ability to look at your own life and imagine how it could have been different. What if you had gone out with that woman from residence instead of meeting someone online? What if you had taken that job out of town instead of playing it safe with one close by? What if vampires were real? What if you met one, would you want to be turned?
Obviously some questions can go more into fantasy that just what ifs but my point is that for me writing The Newfoundland Vampirewasn’t just an exploration of the vampire nature (along with some geeky fun, sex and plenty of action of course), it was also a journey down memory lane, with a twist. If you had the chance to make different choices, would you? For me I think my life could…

Avoiding the scaffolds: N M Browne

So, I have an apology to make: the last time I blogged I lied.  I thought that once my submission draft of the book-of-strange-directions was finished I’d have lots of useful tips to share on becoming a best seller, breaking the internet and tweeting up a twitter storm. As you, dear reader, have yet to hear from me, you may safely assume that none of the above has actually happened. Maybe next month.  In lieu of sharing the secrets of my yet-to-be-achieved success, I can confess that I am clearing the decks for an academic project.I won’t bore you with the details of that except to point out that the prospect of academic writing has made me realise how much I adore making things up all day. So, as I tidy my desk and try to refigure my brain, I am drawn inevitably to pretty well  anything that isn't study. Obviously it would be stupid to start something new when I’ve a lot of clever intellectual stuff to be doing, but refining something old, slightly rejigging the odd character, s…


I've just been reading Wendy Jones's blogon this site. For a best-seller, and also someone so positive about publicity, I found it disconcerting that she omitted to name herself as the blog's author - I had to scroll through the date column on the right to find it.

Otherwise, I was impressed, but at the same time, somewhat questioning. Does Wendy enjoy other people's publicity? Like most people, I find advertising generally irritating, and for that reason, I've installed an ad blocker on my computer, but... if we don't tell people about our work,  and if it isn't mentioned in the media, how is anyone going to find it? I've recently been singing out about my two picture books which are finally on sale in my local Sainsbury's, albeit in the DVD section and at a ridiculously low price (but hey! I've got my advance and the royalties are trickling in).

Recently I've managed to re-publish as an e-book "KACHUNKA!" - my much-loved junior nov…

Do Reviews Sell Books? – Andrew Crofts

Following Sandra’s Horn’s post last week, “That Selling Thing”, I thought it might be useful to consider whether good reviews actually sell books.
A few months ago I blogged here about producing a hardback of my novella, Secrets of the Italian Gardener through Red Door Publishing, and hiring Midas PR to send copies out to the traditional book reviewing marketplace in the same way they would send a new book from one of the traditional publishers – a copy of the book plus a press release.

The book had received plenty of reviews on Amazon but I know that it needs to get “out there” more.
Midas, who are probably the biggest and most successful PR consultancy in the publishing business, did exactly as they were asked and then there was the sort of silence that you would expect to happen while the reviewers read the book, wrote their reviews and their editors considered whether to run them.
A couple of months later a nice review appeared in the Daily Mail Literary Fiction section – huge in…

Gorey has an E in it - by Ruby Barnes

I remember many summer holidays from my childhood. While my school friends were off burning their fair skin on the Costa del Sol, us lot stuck to the delights of the British Isles. My father was afraid of flying and my mother had a Scottish complexion that couldn't take bright sunlight or temperatures above a warm English summer's day. That was the reason given for our reluctance to leave the island. Or maybe we just didn't have the money.

Our first family holidays involved camping in tents. Later we progressed to a caravan towed by whatever monster of a banger my father had recently purchased from a dodgy dealer. Then we upgraded to renting a mobile home (yes, old-fashioned British people go to trailer parks for their holidays!) on a large serviced site next to the sea in Norfolk, bringing kayaks on the roof rack of another dilapidated car and paddling around the salt marshes behind the dunes when weather permitted. Other times sitting on the harbour wall and fishing for …

Adventures in CreateSpace by Susan Price

We seem to be blogging a lot about CreateSpace just recently.
     I have a CreateSpace confession. It was my job to turn Authors Electric's first anthology of short stories, A Flash In The Pen, into a CreateSpace paperback. I said I'd do it - I thought I could do it - and I made a right pig's ear of it.

When you log on to C/S, you download a template, into which you paste your book. They give you a choice of a 'blank' template which has little except the formatting for page lengths - and the formatted template, which has formatting for front and back matter, page-numbers, and headers for title and author name at the top of the page.
     For my very first C/S venture, years ago, I used the formatted template, and got hopelessly confused and frustrated by it.
     So I ditched it, and used the blank template, with which I got on okay. You simply paste your whole book into the template and off you go. There may be a bit of fiddling with chapter headings, but that's …