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Welcome. Whether you read, write, or both, you'll find something here. Free reads, book reviews, writing contest details and links, and much about the writing process. By all means comment; I'm always interested in the views of readers and writers. Follow the blog and connect with me on social networks; the more, the merrier.
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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Recommended

Today, my new book is featured on the famous website, Best Seller Bound Recommends.
Here's the link.
Why not take a look? There's an excerpt, too, for you to sample, if you haven't already tried it.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

A Long Book Earns Another 5 Star Review

I won't do this with every one, I promise. The book is very long, so I didn't expect many reviews in the first couple of weeks.

Here's one that deserves a wider audience.




5.0 out of 5 stars An epic novel and a classic of an epicApril 13, 2014
By Nigel J. Robinson
 (England)
(REAL NAME)
   
This review is from: Joinings (A Seared Sky) (Kindle Edition)
This is an epic novel and a classic of an epic. Those who love to immerse themselves in a fictive universe - whole, ingenious and meticulously worked out - will find plenty here to love. It works, and it's wholly brilliant. Perhaps its only small defect is that there are so many named characters that the reader almost needs a database to track them all. No matter. I've rarely read an epic novel of such power and I write as a PhD in creative writing!

I consider that quite an endorsement!

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Want 10% Off the Price of a Kindle?

I have a code to give to one reader that will give 10% off any Kindle eReader. Go to my Facebook Author page (click here) give me a 'Like' and add a comment relating to Joinings, my most recent release. If you've already 'Liked' the page, you can still join the fun by adding a comment.


I'll run this until noon BST on Wednesday 16 April and then select the most appropriate comment as the winner. Good luck!
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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Watch That Space.

A week away, relaxing after the demanding build-up and aftermath of the book launch. A tranquil rural setting, pleasant folk, attractive scenery and nothing to do but eat, walk and spend quality time with my wife. Refreshes the spirit.

There’s still plenty to do: Networks need updating with the new book, volume 3 is still undergoing the penultimate edit, and the writing contest page needs an update. But, my priority on return home was to alter my work space.

Why?

The quality of the spot we work in can seriously impact the effectiveness of our hours spent at the keyboard. This is a creative space, after all. For what I considered practical reasons, I’d arranged my desk so that I had my back to the window. This, in turn, meant the window had to have a blind to prevent daylight reflecting off the computer screen. But, as a place to write with imagination, it lacked the right feel.

So, I gave the arrangement a proper look, considered my actual options, and decided there was more sense in altering my position so that the window was beside me.

I’ve spent the day making the changes. Not just the furniture, which is pretty minimal in this tiny room, but changing the location of some books, making the computer set-up more user friendly, chucking out some of the rubbish that inevitably congregates over time. It’s been physically demanding, but worth the effort and time.

I’m now sitting with daylight to my right and shelves lined with books to back and front. There are still a few minor changes to be made, but they’ll be done piecemeal. The room is clean and dust free again and I can actually find things I need.

It’s both settling and energising, this change. Too often we allow ourselves to put up with what we have because it seems like too much trouble to alter it. I feel better for the changes. Feel better. And that’s the significant thing. Change can be transformational or, at the very least, inspirational, if we look at it in positive terms.


So, have a look at your work space (if you have one) and decide whether it really is the best you can make it. I look forward to a more productive and inspired time in here now. Once this piece is posted, I’ll get on with some new writing. Have a go, see if it reinvigorates your writing muscles as it has mine.
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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Margery Allingham’s Mr Campion’s Farewell, Completed by Mike Ripley, Reviewed

The PR company handling marketing asked me to review this book. It’s not my usual read, but, having watched some of the adaptations on TV and enjoyed them, I agreed.

The eponymous character is well drawn, matching the depiction from the screen. He’s an interesting personality, personifying that quintessentially English upper middle class hero who prefers to pretends to be a little dim. In fact, of course, his wit is razor sharp and his intelligence high. The other players in this novel are equally well put together; individuals who manage to be representative of certain types without becoming stereotypical.

The narrative is delivered with a tongue-in-cheek gentle humour reminiscent of an earlier age. At times, I found the convoluted descriptions a little tedious, though this was only an occasional irritation, which quickly passed. There is a certain type of wit here that will definitely appeal to those who have loved the previous novels and those who enjoy the Jeeves and Wooster books.

The plot is clever and its denouement very well handled, keeping the reader interested to the very last. The relationships between the various characters are drawn with humour and compassion so that even the villains engender a certain amount of sympathy. In one of those peculiar coincidences that sometimes cause delight, I began to read this book on the day I had visited Lavenham, in Suffolk. This is the town on which the main setting of the book is based, so I immediately felt at home with the descriptions of the place and some of its buildings.


Against my expectations, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It’s an entertaining and engaging read and I expect that those who love their crime with a touch of humour will find it thoroughly worthwhile.
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Monday, 7 April 2014

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, Reviewed.

This is the first book of the Kingkiller Chronicle and is so well written that readers will undoubtedly wish to read the next. Questions remain unanswered. In fact, in spite of the great length of the book, it’s clear the story has only just begun. It is a feature of the genre that stories can be very long, complex and wonderfully wandering. That is, in essence, what many readers find enticing and attractive about it: we don’t want the story to end, especially when it’s as entertaining as this one.

Rothfuss has invented a world in which the reader can not only believe but can easily become absorbed. In many fantasy novels, the magic can overwhelm the plot and characters; not in this one. The characters make the story, and the magic, as it should, merely augments their actions. Well drawn, varied and credible, the characters respond to the challenges set them by the author in ways that fit their personalities, but that doesn’t mean there are no surprises. It’s good when a writer finds ways to allow his players to become unpredictable, without forcing them outside their natural spheres of behaviour.


I enjoyed this lengthy and absorbing tale of perseverance, intelligence, courage and talent. I found the villains unpleasant but believable. I loved the underlying romance and its demonstration of the awkwardness of youth. All in all an engaging tale. I recommend the book to all who enjoy imaginative works and look forward to reading the next in the series. 
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Friday, 4 April 2014

Do You Employ Redundancy? #1

For the past few weeks I’ve been editing a long book, the third volume of my trilogy. Part of that process has used the online editing tool, Prowritingaid, (try it free by clicking on this link). One of the many grammar functions it provides is a check for redundancy, that is the unnecessary repetition of an idea. Often, but not always, this can be the qualification of an absolute. Sometimes, it’s simple tautology. I’m intending a short series of examples here to aid other writers and prevent you making similar mistakes. By no means all of these are mine, but I have been caught out by a few.

Add an additional: If you add something, it’s another. You can say the same thing by using either ‘Add….’ or ‘An additional…’, depending on the way you wish to structure your sentence. You don’t need both.

Basic essentials: By their nature, essentials are elementary, so leave out ‘basic’.

Close scrutinyScrutiny is close study, so don’t qualifying it with ‘close’.

Difficult dilemma: A dilemma is never easy; ‘difficult’ is an unnecessary modifier.

End result: A result occurs at the end, so you don’t need end as a modifier.

Final outcome: An outcome is a result and is therefore final. The exception here is when you’re listing a series of related outcomes of a process; in that case, the last one would correctly be ‘the final outcome’.

For a period of hours: ‘Hours’ is plural, and duration is therefore implied. Try to specify a number of hours or generalize with ‘many’ or ‘several’.

3 a.m. in the morning: One of my bugbears. I hate this. The abbreviation ‘a.m.’ tells you it’s morning, so please use either ‘3 a.m.’ or ‘3 in the morning’ and help prevent me busting a blood vessel.

Plan ahead: If you’re planning, you’re preparing for something that will happen in the future. Use your head, not ‘ahead’.

Spell out in detail: If you ‘spell it out’ you provide details. Let’s not detail it in detail, shall we?


There, that’s made me feel better. But has it helped you? I hope so. A small point for fiction writers; by all means allow your characters to use these redundancies in their speech, under such circumstances they’re as forgivable as clichés: we need to make our people sound human, after all.
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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Passions in Australia: Faye Hall Guests

Today, I’m hosting another writer; an author of Historical Erotic Romance.


Faye Hall's passion driven, mystery filled books are set in small townships of North Queensland, Australia during the late 1800's.
Each of her novels bring something symbolically Australian to her readers, from Aboriginal herbal remedies, to certain gemstones naturally only found in this part of the world.
Each of her books tell of a passionate connection between the hero and heroine, surrounded and threatened by deceit, scandal, theft and sometimes even murder.
These romances swerve from the traditional romances as Faye aims to give her readers so much more intrigue, whilst also revealing the hidden histories of rural townships of North Queensland.
Faye finds her inspiration from the histories of not only the township she grew up in, but the many surrounding it. She also bases most of her characters on people she has met in her life.
Faye was able to live her own passion driven romance, marrying the love of her life after a whirlwind romance in 2013. Together they are raising their 9 children in a remote country town in northern Queensland, Australia.

Passions in Australia

She giggled knowingly. “I knew your name, Re, both your first and your last.  How could I not.”
“Then why pretend you didn’t know me?”
She shrugged casually. “Would you rather me have told those ladies that we slept together?”
-       From Faye Hall's 'She's a Lot Like You', released April 2014

Faye Hall, an Australian author, will have her second eBook, ‘She’s A lot Like You’ released with Red Sage Publishing April this year.
Like her other passion driven, mystery filled books, her new release is set in a small township of North Queensland, Australia during the late 1800's.

Ravenswood, the setting for ‘She’s A lot Like You’, is a township in Queensland most commonly known for its history in gold mining.  However, for her story, Faye has chosen to show a more glamorous and risqué side of this once very prosperous town.  There are beautiful gowns, gala dances and the hidden beauty of a country estate, all things Ravenswood had and more before the gradual decline of the town.  As with all her stories, Faye has included something singularly Australian to entice her readers into the hypnotic allure of the Australian culture in the late Victorian period. 

Faye has chosen this period to set her stories in precisely because she feels it has not been explored enough, nor has the beauty of Northern Australia during that period been represented to its fullest extent.  Other townships Faye explores through her writings include the Burdekin Shire, Sarina, Proserpine and Bowen (the township made famous by Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’).

With every book, Faye has strived to give her readers not only the passionate connection between the hero and heroine, but also the ever present threat of deceit, scandal, theft and sometimes even murder.

A third book has recently been contracted with Red Sage, but as yet a release date is unavailable.

Faye’s books can be purchased direct from Red Sage at:-
From Amazon:-
Also you can visit Faye’s blog and website for any updates:-
Or find her on social networks:-

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Month of March; a Busy Time!

Those of you who follow my blog will be well aware that I’ve been rather active during March. So I’ll make this brief, if you don’t mind.

I’ve written 25 posts for this blog and some others as a guest, read 3 books and reviewed 2 of them. I’ve done a deep edit on 25 chapters, averaging 4,000 words apiece, of the third book of my epic fantasy. I’ve read two writing mags and updated the writing contests page twice. And I’ve worked with my editor in the preparation and participation in the launch of my latest book. That was Joinings: A Seared Sky, for those who haven’t been paying attention!

So, no contests entered, and no stories written or submitted to journals. But a new book on the stocks, which must count for something, surely? I committed to publishing four new books this year. One done, another three to go.

The chart, explained:
Writing - initial creation of stories, blog posts, reviews and longer works.
Editing - polishing of all written work to make it suitable for readers.
Research - discovery of info for story content, market research, contests and blog posts.
Reading - books and writing magazines.
Networking - emails, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and comments.
Admin - story submission, blog posting, marketing, organisation, tax, and general admin tasks.
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