Showing posts from February, 2022

Everyone's a Writer Now -- Andrew Crofts

  General levels of literacy have been with us in the West for a few centuries. But only the leisured classes, or those whose professions demanded it, spent much of their time writing and reading. For most working people, life was just too short and too busy to be whiling away the hours reading books, let alone writing them.  Children left school early in order to go to work in the fields and factories, or as servants, or even down the mines and up chimneys. Literacy was not always encouraged by their masters and employers, who believed it would only put ideas into their heads, and lead to disruption - or possibly even lewd behaviour. As recently as 1960, when Penguin was charged with publishing an obscene book after they brought out an unexpurgated version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence, the prosecuting counsel is on record as asking the jury, “Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or servants to read?” It was not that long ago that scribes were able to ea

Elusive Beasts -- Susan Price

'Telling Tales' by Susan Price I was on the track down of an elusive and prolific beast -- one that's common but camouflages itself so well that you can be staring right at it and not see it. I knew that no matter how dedicatedly I hunted it, no matter how many hours or days I spent on the trail, I would miss many of the pestiferous things. So I asked my friend, Karen Bush,   an ex of this blog, to help and she bagged quite a few of the critters, having an expert eye for them. Using Karen's spotter notes, I culled all she discovered – but in the process found a whole lot more of the pests. They breed, I think, as soon as you turn a page. Because I'm talking about typos, of course. I've been proof-reading my latest self-published book, Telling Tales.   There are several breeds of typo. They can be mistaken spellings. I know to be wary of any word containing 'ie' or, indeed, 'ei' because I seem incapable of learning which way round they go in any

Beauty Beneath the Waters -- Lorraine Smith

 Look Around.     I live in Dundee which is in the banks of the beautiful River Tay, Famous  for its silvery waters and the Rail Bridge disaster. Those waters hide many other treasures.  This grey seal pup was brought into the clinic where my daughter works. Marine divers identify injured or sick marine life and bring them for treatment. This boy is smiling, he was sweet ,but seals, especially harbour seals can be aggressive. This one was injured fighting for food.  Grey seals can live between thirty to forty years and return to the sand bars where they were born to breed.This means that after rehab they must be brought back to the Tay for release. The sandbars on  the Tay estuary are full of basking seals in the summer but we often walk by taking note of the shining waters and smile at the seals not really seeing just glimpsing. How often do we stop to think about the rich mix of life under the sparkling waves. octopus, fish,including the famous Tay Salmon, crabs, and seals, both Harb

Endorsing Endorsements? by Joy Margetts

  ‘Compassionate, warm, moving and so VERY funny.’ ‘This is properly brilliant. The pages fly by and I just can’t stop smiling.’ ‘A charming, clever, debut.’ No, these aren’t mine. Not written by me, and sadly not written about my books either. I am in the process of getting people to endorse my soon to be published novel. It involves asking people very nicely to read a PDF manuscript, only partially edited, and give me their views on it. In a line or two. Words that they won’t mind being attributed to them and printed within the front cover of said book. I find the whole business uncomfortable, and positively terrifying. Especially as they are among the few people to have actually read the thing. What if they don’t like it, and cannot in all good conscience recommend it? It’s a possibility after all. Thankfully, the people I have approached have so far been generous and kind. I am already so encouraged to be in receipt of some lovely words of endorsement for The Pilgrim . These

What do Writers do All Day (when they've just published a book?) -- Mari Howard

Well, I shall disclose what I do — and you can imagine that others may do similar.  For example, today about 20 snails were removed from the garden wall, where they had been hibernating…  But, I digress…As an Indie* writer, like others I’ve not only scribbled and tapped my way to completing writing another book, I’ve dialogued with my designer and approved her gorgeous cover design. I’ve been involved with lots of editing, and checking, and then, there’s the publication stuff. I’ve carefully filled in the Ingram Spark requirements on their on-line form, which will include adding the ISBN(International Standard Book Number, which identifies it as itself and no other book), and a Book Description which will go out to everywhere the book might be sold (Amazon of course, and also catalogues and other outlets), to help with shelving and inform marketing. Also an author bio, and a suggested category (one or more) of target readers… and some other admin… Really, simply all the things trade pu

The Sour and the Sweet by Sandra Horn

First the sour, then the sweet. You know that thing, particularly prevalent in children’s picture books, when you have a great idea and write it and then find that someone else has already published something very similar? Well here it is: about ten years ago I wrote a story about a misfit dragon child. I called it Bubble-blowing Brian: - Deep inside the volcano, dragon eggs were hatching, One, Two, Three.    One and Two snuggled down in the red-hot rocks. Three flapped his wings to make a breeze. 'Phew!’ he said, ‘it’s hot in here!’ Every day, One and Two practised breathing fire and roaring.   Three fanned his wings in a quiet corner by himself. On Midsummer Eve, the little dragons chose their special names.   The Dragon King came to hear them.   ‘Fearsome Firesnake!’ Shouted One. He blew a plume of scarlet flames. All the dragons clapped. ‘Ferocious Flamebreath!’ roared Two. He snorted green fire.   The dragons cheered. Three said, ‘Hello, I’m Brian!’ The dragons