Monday, 22 July 2013

Guest Blogger: C.N. Faust "What Keeps The WHeels Turning"

Does anyone remember Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves?  If not, go rent it. Right now. I will wait.

There, now that you have caught up to at least the early nineties, do you remember that scene where Alan Rickman says he is going to cut out that guy's heart with a spoon, because it is dull and it will hurt more? That's exactly how I feel when dealing with the publishing world.  

In a world where I feel one bad review could be my ultimate downfall, what inspires me to keep going? The answer is usually "peace and quiet". Any author knows what it is like to try and write their next bestseller in a dark room crowded with characters who are bickering about who took the last orange soda. (What? You mean your  characters are not that petty? Well good for you.)  

Other than the desire for peace, my greatest inspiration comes from the people who have read my books. I will never forget the first time I finished the memorable kiss scene between my two main characters. My friend, who had been the first to read it, all but threw the manuscript and was near tears because they did not end up together. That is the kind of reaction that keeps me going. I thrive on emotional drama, and the more astonished / angry reactions I receive, the more I am inspired to go through with a project. 

Many authors will say they just write "for them", and to a degree I believe that is true. You may write "for you", but face it. You live for that reaction. 

C.N. Faust is an author of lgbt fantasy-horror by day and the co-publisher of Orcs and Aliens magazine by night

Guest Blogger Bonnie Elizabeth: Inspiration: Why do you Keep Writing?

If you are a cat lover, you will know Bonnie as Chey's, Gemini's and Ichiro's servant from Cat Post Intelligencer. When Bonnie isn't slaving for her cats, she's busy writing.  Here is her post in Inspiration.    

Writing comes naturally to me so finding ways to keep writing comes easily. I have subjects running through my mind in the shower, at night, when I wake up in the morning. When I work out during the day, I’ll have ideas that pop up. The difficulty is not in finding something to write about but to find the time to keep notes on things that seem like subjects I want to tackle.

I have a file full of ideas. If an idea won’t go away, when it keeps coming back and crossing my mind, then it’s time to start a story. I do work from an outline or rather a sort of outline. I like writing a few paragraphs about what I think the story is about. At that point if there are things I need to learn, I’ll look into them. Sometimes I start working on names.

If things stop, then there are always other projects to start outlines on or finding names or moving forward with. I have a series of books as well as writing some stand alone books, so it’s easy enough to come up with another problem for my series characters to deal with. These problems are often things I come across in other books, wondering how would Meg (my main character) deal with that?

Ideas for short stories are harder for me. I’m rather long winded when I write so the novel or novella is a much better length. I like to know why things happen and putting all of that into a short story is harder for me to tackle, but it’s something I’d like to work on.

Every writer works differently, so good ways of coming up with ideas and being really inspired by them to write a story works differently for everyone. Paying attention to the news and reading books you really like is a good way to consider what you want to write.
I heard about a writing exercise where writers randomly looked up five words in a dictionary and had to use a story using all five of those words. I haven’t tried it yet, but I hope to sometime. Exercises like this disengage the mind from story telling and rather engages it with problem solving, which can let ideas flow.

Everyone should experiment with what works for them and then keep writing. The only thing I like better than writing my own work is reading someone else’s.

Check out Whisper Bound, Bonnie Elizabeth's book at Amazon and her author blog Big Fat Orange Cat

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Eek! The Horror! When Editors Don't Do The Job

I don't know about you, but when I've written a story, I just can't see it anymore. I need a second pair of eyes to make corrections.
When Wildcat in Moscow was finished, I did a deal with a start-up publisher who edited it.

Man, what a disaster!

I read it the other day and found a dozen missed mistakes.  Now I know what the company didn't last.

I've corrected them and updated the book, complete with new cover. Still, I wonder how many people saw these problems and thought, "Hmmm, that Storm can't punctuate for toffee!"

Editing is tough and what I do now is:

  • Write the book on my PC 
  • Convert it and read it on my iPad 
  • Edit 
  • Send it to my brother (Hi Ian!) for feedback 
  • Edit 
  • Send it to Julie (Hi Julie!) who points out all my errors 
  • Edit 
  • Leave it a week 
  • Edit 
  • Publish 

It's a pain but I think I got all the typos now. What do you do to make sure your books are in good shape?

Read the first part of Wildcat in Moscow, a contemporary romance here.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Guest Blogger Michael Brookes: Why write guest posts?

Michael Brookes is a games developer but you probably know him as the host of The Cult of Me and the author of  Faust 2.0.  Here he talks about the role of guest blogging for authors.

Selling books is networking, it's all about finding new people who might be interested in reading what you have written. First and foremost you must write something worth reading, but when you have done that, what next?

There are a number of ways that you as a writer can make your name known and guests are a good way to do that. For authors who don't have their own blog presence it provides a mechanism to get involved. For authors who do have their own blogs you can host guest posts and gain interesting new content that attract s new readers to their blogs. Writing guest posts also puts your content onto other blogs, extending your reach beyond you own followers.

So you've been invited to write a guest post, what should you write?

That depends on two things. The first is to play to your own strengths. Guest posts shouldn't be an overt plug for your book, but that doesn't mean that you can't take lessons you've learnt while writing or releasing the book. If you've researched and discovered any interesting facts then they can form the basis of a post. If you write in a specific genre then you could write about that, for example I write horror stories, so one of my guest posts has been about the nature of evil.

The other consideration is the blog you are writing for. Speak to the blog owner, read their posts and get a feel for what their blog is about. Target what you write to their readership so that they may take interest and then investigate your other writing.

Most of all have fun. As with all writing, guest posts should be a pleasure, not a chore.

Is it the rebirth of an ancient evil in a new realm? Or something much worse?

A sexy looking avatar grants wishes for people across the web, but nothing is truly free, and for those who accept, what price must be paid?

Sarah Mitchell must discover the truth of this creature and stop it while it can still be stopped, but why is a mysterious lawyer dogging her every step?

Faust 2.0 is the first book in the new Mitchell & Morton series.
Available now on Kindle:
Amazon (UK):
Amazon (US):

Monday, 1 July 2013

The Evil One Star Reviewer

When you write a book, being reviewed is a traditional part of the process but some writers wonder why anyone would put up a one star review.

I must say that I haven't read a proper review in years.  Proper, meaning someone with a degree in literature who writes a reflective critical evaluation.  The people I know who review books for newspapers and magazines are like us indie authors: they read books and they can produce an article of 500 to 1000 words. Having them read your book is great for advertising and they usually work to a template where they say one bad thing and two good things so that readers think they are unbiased and publishers are happy that it's mostly positive.  It's just business, not really a review at all.

On Goodreads, Smashwords etc the reviewer may be one who writes and reads but more likely it's just someone who bought the book and who enjoys the idea of being The Reviewer.

Unfortunately, I think "reviewer" is a word that drives normal people a little power crazy.  Let's face it: most of us have zero control over the people around us, so having the power to smash someone is just too, too tempting.  They have a bad day, and you get the one star review.

The other factor at work is that many readers can't tell the difference between, "I didn't like this but the writing is competent" and "I didn't like this because the writing is incompetent."  I got a poor review by a reader who said she hated the book because she didn't like the term of endearment the hero used.  I used "honey girl" which is common in Scotland as it's a new take on "hinny" and "hen" that are corruptions of "honey". Was she right to give a poor review?  Sure!  It's just her opinion.

The other thing that comes into play is that people feel that "proper authors" are much more likely to be good than indie authors.  So they expect to have to pick holes in things. I would suggest they read the last three Cat Who books to get rid of that prejudice.

There are also authors who make up fake persona and then trash other authors.  I've seen a bit of that on Goodreads and it fascinates me. Imagine being that petty minded!

I've been making my living from writing for almost two decades and I have to say that one star reviews don't bother me because there are plenty of people buying my books.  What I really want, are people who recommend my stuff to their friends.  The day the sales drop, I'll pay attention to one star reviews!

So if you're new, don't be upset by one star reviews. Focus on the group that does like your stuff and watch your sales figures.

Want to read one of my books?  For a sweet romantic mushy read, check out Lost Weekend: An Erotic Romance in Wales