Friday, 16 December 2011


It's very exciting - as I was creating e formats of Paranormal Investigations through various outlets I noticed Lulu's print on demand format looked fairly easy to set up. I had a play with reformatting and came up with a suitable file. I then had to create a cover - which is not easy without a good image. Luckily I had two to choose from, Michael Farmer of The New Splicer designed my Nanowrimo cover and Tirz (see her blog on my blog roll below) created another one for me. I then had to pick an image and make it work in the Lulu cover making format. I ordered a proof copy and it arrived within days, it's not perfect so I've made a few alterations. This is not bad considering I ordered a Createspace proof before and it is still in Illanois and not predicted to be with me until the end of January.
If you would like your own paperback version you can order it at a discounted price of £4.50 for the rest of this month (then back to £6) here!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


I am a book hoarder.  There, I've come out and said it.  My teenage years were spent investing in books, books and books.  Even if I hated them after reading I never threw them out.  By the time I went to university my father had put up two lenghty book shelves in my bedroom and they were two deep and three high - and I still had books in boxes.  When I got to about 25 I decided it was time to throw out the bad books - so out went the sequel to Gone With the Wind although GWTW itself stayed.  I threw out lots, but I was still drowning in books.  As an amateur historian and writer I also have a large collection on my favourite periods of history and historical characters and I keep them because 'they might be useful one day'.  I also have an assortment of books on Norway because I was going to write a novel partly set there.

I have now found the solution for my hoarding of books, because despite loving them I get a bit creeped out when they begin to get dusty and yellow.  Some months ago I bought a kindle.  I never thought I would be the type of person to 'get into' e readers, but I played with my friend Jackie's and I was hooked.  She discovers lots of great writers and books that she passes on to me so it was only right I be guided by her on how I read my books as well.

I now have two piles of books sorted and some remaining on my shelves.  Those on my shelves are signed first editions (mainly Jasper Ffordes - including two in Portuguese I bought at the Fforde Ffiesta auction, and no I can't read or speak Portuguese) and the two piles are 'charity shop' and 'books my brother might like'.  Into the charity shop go some good books that I once felt the need to 'own'. I can now give them away knowing that the classics are free on my kindle and the others I can purchase should I suddenly have an urge to read again.

My shelves, and life, are a little less cluttered and all that knowledge and pleasure is on one small electronic device.  Twenty-first century - I have finally embraced you!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Work in Progress

As it is November and Nanowrimo is in full swing I don't have time to write a proper blog - I just wanted to give you all the link to my work in progress which can be downloaded FREE throughout the month of November, please download and spread the word!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Book covers

As November draws close so does Nanowrimo... the month in which we create a 50k word novel between the first and thirtieth.

I intend to publish as I go on Smashwords so am creating a novel from scratch rather than working on an existing idea.  To enhance this I put out a call on Facebook for creative friends - I need a book cover.  Michael Farmer (New Splicer) answered my call and has been busy at work creating 13 different possible covers for me - dang it's hard to choose - especially when they all look so good!  There are two main ideas and both look great, it's just a case of deciding which suits the potential book best.  

This is the blurb in a nutshell, so maybe you could help me decide which one to go for:

Leo Fey runs 'Paranormal Investigations' on behalf of her mad aunt Mildred, the problem is Leo doesn't believe in the paranormal and spends most of her time spying on spouses.  Then, as her thirtieth birthday draws closer, Leo realises the paranormal does exist - or so the zombies on the underground tell her.
What do you think?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Nanowrimo 2011

Well, the biggest event of the writing year for us writers is almost here - next month we start our efforts to write a 50k novel during the month of November.  I am once again going to attempt to 'win' Nano although I have not got a clue how, as a teacher with Ofsted hanging over her head, I will find the time.

I have found it best to have an idea of what to write before November comes; the first year I did it I made it all up as I went along and the outcome was... different to what I would normally write.  Last year and the year before I had chapter overviews to guide me and I was much happier with my finished product.  Mind you, I say finished - The Histories made 60k words in November and then it took another ten months to write the same again to complete the draft.  Last year's book I am itching to edit, but The Histories is still taking up what little spare time I have.  And ultimately that's what Nano is for me - a month to get something on paper, a way of carving out some writing time that otherwise would be given to my actual job... or cleaning my flat.  Once November has gone it's on to editing and that is a thankless task as you face confronting the agony of your bad prose and paper thin characters - but just occasionally you stumble across a nugget and think - wow!  Did I really write that?  That makes it all worth it.

See you on the online Nano forums or at the Piccadilly write-in.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Editing #2

I officially hate editing.  I am almost 1/3 of the way through the current WIP and I've now lost the will to live.  Grammar is becoming a mystery to me and I am no longer capable of telling apart quality writing and dire writing.  I don't know if my characters are true to the era or even stand scrutiny.

And yet... if I do not edit those ten months of writing are wasted and I might as well use the story as kindling.  It is a vital process without which my work has no way of finding it's way out of my laptop and into the real world.

Oh well, I shall unwillingly drag myself back to it.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Paper vs electronic

I love reading, but in term time it is a real struggle to find the time.  To counter this I read in the bath quite a bit.  I have never dropped a book, but they can get rather soggy if you are not careful to dry your hands.  My choice of reading venue is one of the reasons I had never countenanced investing in a Kindle or similar e-reader.  I also liked to think of myself as a good old fashioned paper reader.

When I bought an iphone earlier this year I bought a few ibooks and used the kindle app.  Although the screen is small and backlit, I found I didn't really mind forgoing paper as a reading medium.  Then I saw my friend's Kindle... it is lightweight and even has a cover so it looks like a book.  I think the main attraction is that if you want a book you can get it almost instantly - no more going out to the book shop or waiting for a delivery to arrive.  I preordered the new Dresden file (Jim Butcher) and before I knew it, it appeared on my phone.

So, tomorrow I expect my delivery of a brand new Kindle and I shall join the legions of people I had never expected to be one of.  Some think e-readers may kill books, I think they will expand book sales - especially from online authors such as Sean Sweeney who don't rely on 'the system' to get published.  Now independent authors can offer their works at the click of a button alongside those who pay commission to the big boys at the major publishing houses.  However, what will need to evolve is the book shop - they will definitely need to rethink how they do business and how they sell books.  Book shops will have to consider how to get the e-reading population through their doors.