Sunday 15 December 2013
Wednesday 27 November 2013
Result: The Obedience of Fools is a NaNoWriMo winner, 2013. (See picture thingy below)
Sunday 10 November 2013
Check out the links and the stats via cheekyseagull,co,uk, on the page for The Obedience of Fools.
Tuesday 5 November 2013
Thursday 31 October 2013
Wednesday 30 October 2013
Pop along and have a look, grab yourself a slice of the action!
Sunday 27 October 2013
The mission, should you accept it, is to tell those stories and unfold that history in a lively entertaining way, to draw the visitors in and hold their imagination with your words. There is no rehearsal, you go live with one chance, this will be your first and only draft. It is a different group of people every time you open the door.
Your talk will last at least an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, at between ninety and a hundred and ten words a minute.
No notes, just the prompts from the things around you. You are passionate about it and once you start the words flow freely. Work an average, 100 words a minute for 75 minutes, 7500 words. That's a little less than one seventh of NaNoWriMo in an hour and fifteen minutes.
The challenge is fifty thousand words in thirty days.
Now tell me that my first draft should be anything less than my best.
Write your first draft as though it was your last.
Friday 25 October 2013
Sunday 20 October 2013
However, Iceline can be accessed on other links and is available at smashwords for $0.99 with the code KF94R and likewise for Control Escape at $0.99 with code SG33N, the codes are valid until the 1st of November, when this years Nanowrimo kicks off and I plunge into The Duck Test and thirty days of creative spontaneity.
Check out the Nanowrimo page at smashwords when it goes live and follow the word count on Nanowrimo and at cheekyseagull.co.uk.
The story goes on, grab a piece of the action.
Thursday 17 October 2013
If the newspapers in question could find the offensive title with such apparent relative ease it does beg the question why the sites involved failed to monitor their content. As David Gaughran reports in his piece, most of the titles involved have no erotic content whatsoever, and I agree with his sentiments.
Kobo hopes that the majority of it's catalogue will be back on-line - minus any offending titles - by Saturday the 19th of October. Kobo's and WH Smith's reaction was the most extreme, Barnes & Noble have removed similar titles from their stores. A follow up in the Telegraph has more detail and comments from Mike Serbinis, Kobo's chief executive.
On my bookshelf I have a copy of Iceline under its original title of Bark At Thunder. A Christmas present from a very good friend who read the first draft of the story and unbeknown to me and in collusion with others found a way of having it printed and bound. He handed it over with the hope it would encourage me to go further with it. I have no idea how closely the contents of the book were checked, you paid your money, picked the stock cover depending on the genre and the finished volumes were then posted out.
Following the story in the Daily Mail and others two of my own novels distributed to Kobo through smashwords have been culled and can no longer be found on the sites in question, however, Iceline (previously Bark At Thunder) and Control Escape are available directly through Smashwords.
Add the code KF94R for Control Escape and SG33W for Iceline and pick them up for 99c each.
Sunday 13 October 2013
Remember, Remember, the first of November;
complete loss of reason and plot
No characters or story, a vain lust for glory,
its Nano time, give it a shot!
Tuesday 1 October 2013
Smashwords created the series page a couple of weeks ago, announcing its arrival via the smashwords blog. A convenient spot where books belonging together can be found together, brilliantly simple.
Iceline and Control Escape are now tucked together as the first two novels of The Grange series. What You Ask For will join them in due course, along with subsequent books in the series.
For the next month, from now until Hallowe'en. The night before Nanowrimo 2013 kicks off on November 1st, Iceline is free with the code XX74J and Control Escape has code QS72V to make it free.
Sunday 15 September 2013
The headlong crash through the Autumn months towards the Christmas season has begun, the slippery slope is oiled and the ball is rolling. Right now, who cares, Grange Four (Work in Progress, tagged not titled) has made a faltering start and will probably be dumped on the 1st of November when Nanowrimo comes a-calling once more and with it the tense countdown to the witching hour. At midnight on Halloween when the clock strikes and the keyboards start to clatter with the rattling dance of fingers whatever skeletal dance macabre is going on outside will be pushed aside as imaginations the world over leap into their own frenzied state. Woe betide any supernatural beastie that tries to interrupt that moment; it will be death by flash-drive at fifty paces.
Nanowrimo again, 50,000 words in thirty days and at the moment I have either too many ideas or my head is empty. That's what it is all about, if you think about the core of Nanowrimo it makes no sense, everything is wrong, completely and utterly wrong, and that is exactly what makes it right. So absolutely beautifully wonderfully right.
Am I going to do it again, yes, YES, YES!
So you have a shortage of ideas, spend an hour or two in the pub and listen to the conversations around you. Don't read a book, read two books, maybe three and stare at the ceiling for hours, do whatever it takes to get the imagination working again.
Challenge yourself, if you`re still waiting for that "One day I'm going to write a novel" then make a date. Wine it. dine it, romance it and lavish your time and attention on it. It will be beautiful and by the end of the month you will ant to spend more time with and see the work done. 50,000 words maybe more, thousands more, a story told and a story to tell of how you rose to the challenge and wrote your novel.
When the dust settles into December and the frost leaves its fingerprints on the windows, the rings on the coffee mug can be counted to track your progress through Nanowrimo you can tell the story of how you went there, did it and got the winner's tee shirt. The one that says it all; 50,000 Words 30 Days and 0 Excuses.
Last year's effort; What You Ask For, is available as a free download. Still undergoing the proof reading and editing. The cover art needs a good look at too, but help yourself, follow the link and if you have any feedback use the contact box on this site or via website at www.cheekyseagull.co.uk.
So I've just shot my mouth off about Nanowrimo 2013, opened it wide and inserted one or both feet? The bottom line is the same.
50,000 words, 30 Days, 0 Excuses.
Tuesday 27 August 2013
The Blurb, I can't help it, as soon as I read the words ex-whatever, and it is usually one of the elite special forces familiar to us all I lose interest. Don't get me wrong, I have enormous respect for the standards and achievements of special forces, especially those serving with HM forces at home and overseas. I know they are special, very special.
When the manuscript of Iceline was handed back after the first reader had finished with it he said it read like a combination of Jack Higgins and John Buchan. I took that as a compliment, they are writers I have admired and enjoyed for many years. Buchan's "The Thirty Nine Steps" was on the edge of my mind while I was writing Iceline. I'm not sure how many times I have read it, it isn't a long book, but the action never stops from the moment Richard Hannay hears the tale of his unknown visitor.
Hannay is the key, both to the Thirty Nine Steps and to the way the Grange works, he is you and me! A mining engineer, bored out of his skull with the social whirl and on the brink of chucking the whole lot and heading off in search of another adventure, then adventure kicks open the door and crashes in - come and have a go!
He isn't a trained agent, anything but, but he's quick, intelligent, he has life experience and can handle himself. Richard Hannay is a sort of Everyman hero, you or I could reasonably slip into his shoes and take the journey he does.
That's where the idea of The Grange starts, any one of the team could be you or me, we all have our talents and given the chance to rise to the occasion would probably give it a go and discover something about ourselves we didn't know...
Steel, Langhers, Josie, even Hannah with her finger on the Morse key, none of them have a military background, but they all have that something Jardine spotted and brought out. He created the Grange to develop teamwork and individual thinking. Initiative or whatever you want to call it - he wouldn't call it blue-sky thinking;to him that's a vast blue emptiness with nothing going on. Bill Jardine would consider membership of the Cloud Appreciation Society, clouds are a sign of activity on a grand scale. Just what he's looking for, along with the necessity of paying his way.
A group of ordinary people working in an unusual situation, all it needs to bring out that something extra, and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Teamwork, flexibility and initiative, looking for that edge to keep the show on the road. Check out the team at the Grange in the first three Grange Novels, Iceline, Control:Escape and What You Ask For ( WYAF is still in the raw draft stage, free to download.)
Friday 16 August 2013
How many times have I considered a plot line and decided that it was just too fanciful, lobbed the idea in the mental dustbin and then been handed a slice of reality that makes the fiction sound solid and mundane, boring even?
I really should take the words of Sherlock Holmes to heart, that life is infinitely stranger than anything the mind of man can invent. He pushed the idea further, strip away everything, peel back all the layers and what you have left, however strange it might seem will probably be the truth.
Coming up against that, should I worry that I might write a tale so strange it would be unbelievable?
That's definitely a NO, so let's bring Lewis Carroll into the picture as well, and start off with half a dozen impossible things before breakfast.
Kick off the day with that, check the batteries in my tape recorder, (I have a Pearlcorder stuffed in my bag, with the little micro-cassettes) and see where it goes.
Expect weirdness, was the excellent advice I had the other day, I'm going to take it; the material should be useful for any number of stories.
Friday 26 July 2013
The Grange Novels are included in the promotion, grab yourself a copy of Iceline, normally $2.99, free with code SW100. Control Escape, normally $2.99, also free with SW100 .
The latest in the series, still undergoing final checks and editing, remains a free download, What You Ask For, Nanowrimo entry and winner 2012. It crossed the 50000 word target in twenty nine days, and set the bench mark for this years personal Nanowrimo challenge. In the meantime, I've proofreading to do, obvious bloopers to spot and change -if you find any in the raw draft of What You Ask For, drop me a line here or at cheekyseagull.co.uk .
Ideas drift through the grey matter all the time, and some of them make it on to a scrap of paper, but that jotting may bear no relationship to the work in progress advancing across the page, that's the fun of it, never sure what twist of the imagination will throw the story off in a completely new direction. Don't miss the next exciting episode.... I'd better get on with writing it?
Friday 19 July 2013
Saturday 13 July 2013
What are you waiting for, it's the weekend, the sun is shining (well, it is here in Yorkshire) and there are books to read!
Friday 12 July 2013
Free eBooks | Freebie Friday | Indies Unlimited | Indies Unlimited The weekly free ebook fest at Indies Unlimited is here again, stock up on your holiday reading, get something for the daily commute or vegging out for the week-end.
Wednesday 10 July 2013
The point of this, just to let you know, there are more stories on the way and if you haven’t met Bill Jardine, Josie Burke, Steel, Langhers and the rest of the team from the Grange catch up with them at smashwords.com in Iceline, Control Escape, and What You Ask For.
What You Ask For is recently completed as a draft and is currently undergoing editing and proofreading and is free to download, Iceline and Control Escape are free until the end of July with the code SW100 at Smashwords, formatted for most ereaders.
Bag some good reading and be part of the action,
Monday 1 July 2013
Sunday 30 June 2013
My personal choice is a Kobo mini, compact - literally pocket size - with a couple of gig of memory and a battery that lasts for weeks. Check out the spec, doesn't work too good in the dark. I'm having a ball with mine proofreading What You Ask For, my 2012 Nanowrimo entry (and winner). Still a freebie at Smashwords, and when the proofreading, editing and all the other post-scribbling gubbins has been dealt with it'll go through the channels.
A whole month to explore some of the most original imaginations around, I can't wait for midnight pacific time (it's about 8 am on a Monday morning locally).
Saturday 29 June 2013
Less than a day away; more ebooks than you can shake a stick at Smashwords summer/winter promotion begins at 00:01 Pacific Time. Discount codes available for ebooks on the Smashwords' site.
The Grange Novels, either free or discounted to free when the promotion starts.
Wednesday 12 June 2013
Don Steel wasn't any tourist, his new enemies may have been unknown but their ignorance of who they had snatched would prove costly. Battered, bruised and bloody he turns up in a ditch high in the mountains above Glencoe; airlifted to hospital for treatment his recuperation is disrupted by an attempt to silence him. Steel would be neither silent nor compliantly lie down. Leaving his attacker in the care of and needing the attention of the ward sister he takes to the road and begins a cat and mouse chase across the highlands and islands of Scotland to a final showdown in Tobermory Bay backed up by allies colleagues and friends, and one friend discovers just how far he will go.
Tuesday 11 June 2013
Feedback is welcome, let me know your thoughts, suggestions and comments are via the link.
Thursday 6 June 2013
Saturday 1 June 2013
It could have been the bloke down the Pub, the idea behind Control Escape grew out of what could be a modern urban legend. There is a reality behind it, somewhere. The occasional news story of the bright kid who hacks the system of the government or the military, pokes around inside and gets caught on the way out.
It usually happens because of a slip on the way out. Hacking in is less complicated, looking around and leaving no trace of the visit is tough. That's what marks out the best, that you are not certain the hack ever took place until the information obtained pops up where it shouldn't.
Steve Arkwright was good,but left a trace, his concentration slipped and the marker was enough to set the hounds in pursuit. The handler was clever, with his own ideas and a persuasive tongue, his own handlers loosened his leash and let him run a little.
There was a trade off, the handler (Arkwright's Control) had the freedom he wanted but that needed results: no such leeway came to Arkwright. He was kept on a short leash and faced with the added burden of changing his identity, by the time he jumped again, he had a handful of identities from his handler, and final name of his own choice. Known only to himself but as secure as any he had been given. Arkwright used the system against itself.
He finds himself with new allies when he staggers into Steel and Langhers from the Grange nosing around by the old gravels pits on the other side of the wire.
Find out more in Control Escape, with a discount code at smashwords.com go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/216761 and enter KG94R at the checkout. A thriller for less than a dollar. Can't say better than that!
Friday 31 May 2013
The Angst of Acceptance, a recent post by Chris James at Indies unlimited taps into the discussion about who is worthy to sit at the literary table and pick over the spoils, he begins with a humorous story about a "Traditional" published writer being embarrassed to admit his status in the company of self-published authors.
A scenario that is pretty unlikely to happen today. The long road to acceptance for many self-published writers has been dogged by the stigma which has attached itself to the title for so many years but strip away the pretentious snobbery, and let's be honest isn't that where some of this comes from; didn't it all start with independent writers publishing their own works who gradually grew into the publishing companies of the past and then conglomerated into the bigger companies dominating the present day market?
I posted a comment at the foot of Chris's post and part of it reads
Indies have always been part of the literary scene, but regarded as the eccentric relatives which maintained their status as curios and their output as a trickle. Today the trickle is a flood and the criticism of the Indie almost always falls against a technical criteria – proofreading, editing, or whatever, elements the traditionally published writer hands over to someone else to do!
Nobody ever said we are bad at storytelling,
I am an Indie Author, I have never made any secret of the fact, nip across to the writing page at www.cheekyseagull.co.uk and there's a little note about my feelings on the matter. Chris has an excellent piece and links in the article itself and the comments provided by readers below expand on the discussion, including how a number of well established and respected literary groups are discussing their future relationships with the constantly growing self-publishing community and people firmly embedded in the "Traditional" publishing world are effectively being forced to shift their views on the new generation of self-publishing.
My comment touched on something that has niggled at me for a long time, the sub text that when it comes to checking the details of the finished work (proofreading, editing) somehow I can't do it! I wrote the book, and I can't spot my own mistakes? Paying someone to do the donkey work is fine, employing a professional is good, but being professional is not just about being paid. Being truly professional has nothing to do with being paid and everything to do with your state of mind.
Self-publishing is not the road of the damned and the desperate, not any more, and the names of established writers who are stepping out on to the road with the myriad of unknowns, hopefuls, dreamers and professionals are saying it loudly with each step they take along that road. People attack what they fear, they run down the things they feel threatened by, it's natural, but the writer, you, whoever you are out there, you are extraordinary. You have an independent mind, an independent spirit, enjoy them.
Whatever form of publishing route you take remember this, without the writer there would be nothing to publish. Our words, thoughts, ideas, the stories that catch the quintessence of humanity are served up for the reader to enjoy. We have a feast in our hands so bring what you have and share it.
Monday 27 May 2013
Lego gave me hours and hours of pleasure as a kid, stretching the imagination inside my head to a physical reality through the box of bricks and the models I built.
So how cool is that, to park an x-wing fighter in Times Square. Who wouldn't want to be the one to say I did that! Brilliant, well done to everyone involved at Lego.
Saturday 18 May 2013
Both presentations are worth a look at, and provide considerable food for thought. There is no magic bullet that I can see but more helpfully a solid appraisal of the situation facing any writer in the market place today.
There are likely to be as many ways of selecting the price for a book as their are writers, but one or two common factors seem to pop out. Obviously free shifts more dowlnoads than anything else, about 92 times more than, and ebooks come in a variety of prices but there is a correlation of approximately 30000 words per dollar, putting a full length novel edging towards epic length, (70000 to 1000000 words) around the $2.99 tag.
Have a look at the presentations, and see what you think.
Sunday 12 May 2013
It was down to confidence, in myself and my abilities as a writer, I needed that encouragement, and the kick up the backside to get the thing off the ground, and like many writers I was looking for that way forward, the road to find an audience.
Reading through Mark Coker's blog at Smashwords and listening to an interview with him on Late Night Library from Portland Oregon, via a link in his blog and hearing him recall his own experiences and the journey that brought him to establish Smashwords, and then how the company has developed and contributed to the revolution in publishing over the last few years. He refers to the time just over five years ago as the dark ages of publishing.
I can procrastinate when it suits me, and when I shouldn't but isn't that a common situation. Hanging fire and waiting for the right moment, but that moment has a nasty habit of never actually coming, so the kick in the pants becomes a useful tool. Perhaps that's a bit harsh, let's agree a healthy shove in the right direction is more diplomatic, but it amounts to about the same thing really.
Tradition is a great thing if you know why you are doing it, and for so many years the respectable way to publish has been "Traditional" publishers, with the Vanity and self-publishing apparently lumped together as more or less the same thing, (I'll leave that discussion for another time maybe), with each one looking up or down at the other depending on where they saw their niche in publishing society.
Whatever the merits or otherwise of the various strands of publishing they had their way of doing things, their own traditions and amongst writers there are tradition and mythology. I picked up a tweet a day or so ago, retweeted across the system and it irritated me; the gist of it was that "The first draft is supposed to suck" reposted with a twitter link to the The Indie View photo and taken with the context of the picture the advice is sound, but I have never set out to write anything that sucks, my aim is and always has been to be the best from the first word. the reason is simple, I really don't like proofreading, editing, etc, and yes I know everybody says you should get somebody else to do it, but there are perfect worlds and there is reality.
Reality, the stark reality portrayed to the aspiring author, the barely hidden subtext I found in so many books on how to get published always pointed to how difficult, nay, near impossible it could be to get into print.
They make it sound like rules and stuff, you do this or don't do that, and I find myself drifting back to Kenneth More's portrayal of Douglas Bader, in Reach For The Sky and two particular scenes. the first he turns up to rejoin as a pilot, already due to a flying accident a double amputee and is told that there is nothing in the regulations that says he can fly. His response; there is nothing there that says I can't. The second clip is when the much needed spares he requires to get his squadron operational arrive and he admits to having by-passed all the proper channels declaring that "rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men."
There had to be another way, and most of my life I have been an admirer of Bader, I wouldn't nominate him for sainthood. He was no plaster saint, to borrow from Rudyard Kipling and like many of his compatriots who were single men in barracks they had a job to do, and Churchill's rubber stamp of "Action This Day" gave them the motivation. I needed a way and the motivation, and eventually found both.
I found Smashwords by accident, researching something else and looking for a book by the American Criminal Profiler, Pat Brown, and was wary of anything that said it was free, but the claim held good, and I found my way. Publishing on Smashwords was my Bader moment, I bypassed all the traditionally accepted channels, and took Mark Coker at his word, that every writer has the right to be published. That was motivation.
When Bader wanted his spares he went straight to Fighter Command, and I'm doing the same. You, reader, are the one I want to send my book out to you and they won't cost you an arm or a leg, maybe the price of a cup of coffee, Iceline (use the Smashwords discount code SG33N) and Control Escape (Smashwords Discount Code VK56T) are out already and What You Ask For, the third novel in the series is nearing completion, and while it is still a work in progress is a freebie from Smashwords. The other two are already out through the major ebook channels, nip across to www.cheekyseagull.co.uk/iceline or /control_escape and follow the links or use the links on this blog to reach my website. Have a look around while your there.
Saturday 4 May 2013
I haven't done that yet, but I do find myself reading names on memorials and monuments. My characters draw their names from a variety of sources, even down to snippets of conversation. Take the feisty auburn haired female in the Grange stories, Josie Burke, her first name is diminutive, shortened from Josephine (she would call that her best name, a Sunday name, only used formally) Josie is the name she lives and works with and Burke, that came from a number of suggestions. Burke and Hare were the infamous body-snatchers supplying the Edinburgh medical schools with cadavers, James Burke was a presenter of science and technology programmes in the Seventies (Do you remember Connections?) and someone is a Berk when they do something daft. Josie refers to Burke and Hare in Control Escape, and she expresses something about how names influence our character and development. Names can become nicknames, and a source of humour for other people, and discomfort for the carrier.
Steel carries that baggage, Don Steel, what on earth was I thinking about, a character who reportedly grew up in Sheffield called Don Steel. Sheffield steel has been known about since the days of Geoffrey Chaucer. In the Canterbury Tales he mentions a simple working blade called the thwitel, made in Sheffield, and the earliest literary reference in fiction to knife making in the area.
The River that Sheffield straddles is the Don, can you see where this is going, his name caused trouble for him, and if you call him by his full name, Donald, it doesn't seem to be getting any better does it, but that was part of the selection process, the thinking behind his insistence that people use his surname, an expression of character. The inner circle who know his full name are people he can trust, and because of the trust he can accept the banter, but the banter is absent because of the trust. The logic is circular, but it works.
His first name is used, usually by Josie and only in specific circumstances, whereas Kurt Langhers uses and is referred to by both names on an almos casual basis. Kurt's name originated with the Commando comics I read as a young boy, given to a German officer in one of the stories, I liked the name and remembered it, and the character grew out of that. A German name, but with a Yorkshire accent? Unlikely, but not impossible perhaps a German grandfather, POW, who stayed behind after the war because the part of Germany he grew up in was on the other side of the wire. Did it happen, could it happen, turn the parts around, a National Serviceman from England posted to Germany after the war returns with a German bride, and they ran a local shop for years just down the road from where I grew up.
Fiction, isn't part of that taking what is real and making something novel out of it, recreating it with the imagination as another reality? Then we come to Bill Jardine; Jardine is a Scottish town, in one part of Sheffield it's one of a cluster of street names with a Scottish connection. Bill, is a name with many connotations, Dicken's Bill Sykes the thuggish criminal, Bruce Bairnsfather's World War One cartoon character Old Bill, a world weary soldier with his distinctive walrus moustache (the cadet pub "Bill and Alphie's" at the Royal Military College of Canada is named after him) and the Metropolitan Police are "The Bill" Richmal Cromptom created Just William, mischief incarnate, but William grows up and somewhere along the line becomes Bill, and that was the transition I saw as Bill Jardine developed, a poacher turned gamekeeper, his wilder younger days a precursor to the activities and operations he would oversee at The Grange, and the place itself, a grange, historically a farm, a working place with an air of its own identity planted by time in the ground on which it stands. Not pretending to be something it isn't. Grand enough, but not too much. It's about playing with words, turning them around and seeing what happens and I'll leave the last word to Wally Barnes. Here again Wally can mean someone a bit daft or stupid, but he used his own name and the way the school register was called, especially when answering the phone. He wrong-footed people, and catches Steel in What You Ask For (currently a work in progress at smashwords.com), with "Barnes, Wally speaking."
Formally he is Wallace Barnes, a bit of a mouthful, the school register called him out as Barnes, Wallace. Now there's a name to play with, and if you think fiction is strange, imagine trying to sell the idea that a 500lb bomb will bounce along the water like a skimming stone. We can look back and see how it works, Wallace couldn't, I could not resist that homage in one of the technical crew of the Grange.
Some names work well, others are more difficult to find a character for, and the most challenging one, Azubah, I found it on a gravestone, it means Desolation, Biblically, she was the wife of Caleb.
But then, hmm, maybe there is something...I am going to think about that one!
Thursday 2 May 2013
Tuesday 23 April 2013
Monday 22 April 2013
The book went up a week ago and notched a hundred and fifty downloads in seven days. Readers spread across the globe, taking an adventure with an unknown writer with a fantastic imagination. Adventurous independent minded readers for an independent author, is that what you see in the mirror? Prepared to venture into unknown territory. A M Russell is the writer and Not Without My Cat is the book.
Sunday 21 April 2013
Tuesday 16 April 2013
Books are precious, they absorb time; to plot, to write, to re-write, and work out the subtle twists and turns. The minutiae of structure ,plot and sub-plot that must hang together like the threads of a tapestry. Later when they reach out to the reader, the individual for whom all books are written, there is more time spent on deciding, is the cover enticing enough, does the first page grab you and drag you through the portal into a world you don't want to escape and your feet drift inexorably towards the bookseller and the cash till to make the purchase.
Next Tuesday World Book Night night books will be moving by the case, box upon box, stacked and packed with crisp fresh pages and newly printed ink. Thousands of people will savour that moment when you open the covers for the first time and the smell of the book reaches your nostrils. A perfume, and a promise, the scent of imagination and an invitation to intrigue, adventure and romance, brought by an army of volunteers
Will you have a date with the Girl with a Pearl Earring, play the high stakes at Casino Royale, be entertained by The Reader, or be summoned to an audience with The White Queen.
Are you to be investigated by the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, or will the encroaching night bring the sober news that Last Night, Another Soldier...
A selection of some of the books available on World Book Night,
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
The Reader by Bernard Schlink
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Last Night, Another Soldier by Andy McNab,
See what's available here and what's happening near you on the events page
Whichever one is given to you on World Book Night, I hope you enjoy it, savour it and add your time to that spent writing, producing and delivering it.
Saturday 13 April 2013
Erich Von Daniken made a name with his ideas regarding the origin of some of the more elaborate and puzzling structures and artefacts strewn across our planet, Mayan, Aztec, Egyptian, Minoan, and the most exotic of all; the Atlantean elements, sunken buildings and a myriad of other things. The theory and the subject of his books; Chariots of the Gods, Gold of the Gods, was that earth had been visited in the distant past by space travellers who brought knowledge and technology to the primitive population, and thereby lifted us out of the mud and pointed us towards the stars.
That had my thoughts trailing along the line, did the astronauts who inspired our ancestors, for the sake of the discussion, get their knowledge from an earlier race of travellers and they in turn get it from someone else, you get the drift? So on and so forth back to the beginning of time and the first space faring population. in a universe with a known starting point there has to be a first, right at the beginning of the line.
What if we are the first and not the latest in a line of hand-me-down technologies, then the story of the ancient astronauts is not a memory but a briefing of the task we have yet to fulfil. We may not be alone in the universe but we might the top of the heap regarding technology and invention, and the others out there are waiting for us to boldly go.
I know there is a school of thought that suggests all the space stuff of the sixties was done in the dry and dusty bits of the US, but I can't subscribe to that. Why would anyone want to pretend when we have the imagination and the incentive to do it for real?
The imagination has been there for years, decades, by now centuries, writers, artists and film-makers have explored the idea of travelling off planet, to the moon and beyond as much as they have ventured to the bottom of the sea with their imaginary explorations, and so many of those have become reality. Jules Verne and HG Wells stared at the Moon, Edgar Rice Burroughs went further and went to Mars, Arthur C Clarke wrote his Space Odyssey, where the monolith drew us out from our moon towards Jupiter and engineered the Jovian moon Europa into an evolving planet. He took humanity across the stars to a new home with The Songs Of Distant Earth and leaving this blue jewel behind was part of life, of growing and exploring.
The incentive is because we can, we can imagine it, and by that do it!
Where will yours take you tonight?
Sunday 7 April 2013
Coincidence Theory by Steven Allinson, $1,99 at Smashwords.com.
I gave it four stars and said this at Smashwords.com.
"Fast, tightly paced and intricately plotted, packed with historic detail and descriptions that put you in the thick of the action as the plot drags you by the scruff of the neck. Dazzling, I couldn't put it down. A real page turner. Read it, you will not be disappointed.
I picked it up during Read An Ebook Week, along with a few others and tucked them away to read later, but curiosity crooked its finger and hooked me.
This is one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time written by anyone, published anywhere, and this one's at Smashwords.com
Two linked stories, thousands of years apart, unfolded in parallel.
Wednesday 3 April 2013
I suppose they must be a combination of both, and what and who am I?
We all carry tags and labels, a name for this and a description for that, simpler than lumping everything as a thingummy or a whatsit.
My tag cloud, the labels attached to this blog, the metadata for my website, all say something about the medium being used and reasonably would say it about me, so who, what am I.
I write, therefore I am a writer - there, I said it, wrote it; I AM A WRITER! (Are capitals loud enough or is that the internet equivalent of screaming?)
I tell stories, so I am a storyteller, I like the sound of that too, and I live in Yorkshire, which is in England and part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, so I am also English, and British. That gives a choice of options for the tag cloud, my writing is fiction, but not entirely, I enjoy a good bit of factual research but the freedom of fiction is more immediate and fun. Novelist, my books are novels, or at least variations on a theme (Source Material, posted 23.03.13)
I self publish, via Smashwords, who are my distributors, which makes me an independent author, or an Indie Author to see the tag on Diesel ebooks, and the constant chatter about traditional, hybrid, legacy,vanity, indie, self published, privately published or whatever I personally find quite fascinating, confusing and irritating.
I like being independent, I gives me the freedom to explore what works, and what doesn't; that's where the exploration begins the personal trek to boldly go, or tentatively dip a toe to check the temperature.
Seriously, it is an adventure in whatever guise you step out on to the road, and it may be long and arduous, but it will be worth it.
So who am I, what's my tag cloud today?
Martyn Taylor, Writer, Indie Author, British Writer, Yorkshire, England, Self-published, distributed by Smashwords, storyteller, independent, novelist
Monday 1 April 2013
Monday 25 March 2013
While you're there have a look ay what else is available, a wide selection in all genres.
Wednesday 20 March 2013
The storyline (of Seven) from the cubes ( Of Nine) is already familiar.
I can always roll the cubes again, and see what they come up with!
Thursday 14 March 2013
Click the link, type in the URL, the simple way to find anything on the Internet, but what about doing it in a slightly more traditional way. Picture the website in your mind as a bookstore; can you find your novel and how close to the store front is it. The pages become shelves and as in the trad store, the shelves are arranged in sections, labelled with the genre and sub-genre of the books on offer.
Most of the time I have to know exactly where I'm going before I start to find anything on the Internet and the strange hieroglyphic string of a URL can be baffling, take the one for Iceline, my novel at Smashwords.com as an example; https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/216309 (I've typed it at various locations for over six months and I still have to check the details to make sure it's right,). Without knowing it belongs to Iceline there's no clue in the URL as to the book title.
Now let's try the traditional way, sort of, we know the store is Smashwords.com, so that's straightforward enough to find; and the first page is the store front and the key to the store is on the top of the page and the left hand skyscraper, that should narrow down the shelves we have to search. Iceline is tagged as Thriller and Suspense, so click the listing on the left, go to the top of the page and click Epic (0ver 100k words), $2.99 and units sold, and scroll down the page to find Iceline
So, without the URL we're looking for an epic thriller and suspense novel for $2.99 on sale at Smashwords.com on a shelf close to the store front.
Until the end of March there's a discount code for Iceline (TA34B) valid at Smashwords for 100% off, and to bag the pair of them and come home with a handsome brace of novels the code for Control Escape is BU95A. play the same game with Control Escape, Thriller and Suspense, $2.99, full length (50K words), and run your eye along the listing.
I've just had a good response back from someone who read Control Escape and wanted to know when they next one will be ready.
Take a look for yourself.
Sunday 10 March 2013
Saturday 9 March 2013
Thanks for your interest, grab one or both, bag the brace, enjoy them!
Friday 8 March 2013
Camp Nano is the summer outbreak of creative abandon from the people at Nanowrimo, and the itch to get in there and go for another word count challenge is starting to get into my fingers, but I have to finish the Nanowrimo winner from 2012 first, What You Ask for, is still under construction, definitely work in progress and you can help yourself to the story so far over at Smashwords.com. That makes any thoughts of Camp Nanowrimo more likely to be July; it does mean I can start a slow heat on the back burner and see what comes out of the smoke and maybe I'll try something different, have a change from the team at the Grange.
Sounds like being alive to me!
Wednesday 6 March 2013
A week is said to be a long time in politics, not so when your working through the pages of a book, a week may put ten or fifteen thousand words on the story, more if you're working at it full time - a delightful luxury I'm not in a position to enjoy at the moment, but hey, I can dream.
Tuesday 5 March 2013
Hang on a minute here, what are you doing plugging someone else's book? Well, yes, why not. Putting a book together and getting it out there takes a lot of effort and determination, and not everyone who starts the journey finishes. Making that step from "One day I'm going to," to sitting down and mining the typeface, then cutting and polishing the jewels hidden within the prose is a huge one. Being able to pick a book with your name on it, whether off the shelf in a bricks and mortar bookshop or the electronic shelves of an ebookstore is a fantastic feeling. I understand the drive that keeps you working and appreciate when it doesn't, the words dry up and stuff gets in the way.
So what if your storyline is faltering, make tea, coffee, have a beer, walk the dog, have an hour or two in the garden, take a week off, a month, and come back to it. The characters may tell you a different story when you sit down with them again, but go with it and stay the course. When that stack of paper, the manuscript; lies on the desk with an unmistakable, "and now what are you going to do?" air about it, leave it for a few weeks again.
What you do next is an interesting question, the landscape is changing almost daily, Apple are pushing the Breakout Books and other sites are working to promote their writers. the old idea that only one way was the right way is crumbling and the Indie Author is making a mark. Traditional is fine, but true tradition is never static, it changes, because to work it has to mean something; it has to convey a significant message, and if the message is unintelligible it must change or be left behind. Tradition and storytelling go hand in hand, changing constantly; centuries ago troubadours and balladeers wandered the countryside telling their tales. Now we stay in one place post our comments and stories on the net and they do the travelling, - I like the shaded map of the world in the Stats for this blog that shows where the page views came from, for its journey through the internet and I wonder if there will be anywhere new, a different place where it breaks out on to a new screen for the first time. (Hi there, nice to meet you.).
Yes, I'm giving the other chap a pat on the back, blame it on the rugby football and it's traditions. After ninety minutes of scrummage, ruck and maul, tackles, mud and blood; the defeated side form a tunnel for the victors to walk through and are applauded for the way they played the game, and the victors would return the compliment. Then it is time to get cleaned up and go for a drink together. So here I am, a Newbie Indie Author applauding the writers who have made it to the Breakout Books, and one day...