Createspace – it’s finally happened!

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coa-post-its

Anyone who’s been following my attempts to create a paperback from my eBook will know that I’ve been so very close for such a long, long time. 

But last night, I got confirmation that my first paperback had been despatched by Amazon.

All right, I was the one who’d purchased it, but it was for a friend and voluntary beta-reader in Canada. Thanks Michelle!

Perhaps I ought to call her an omega-reader, because this (he says) is going to be the very last set of changes I will apply to the MS. Discussions with my editor (hello Tara!) place the industry-acceptable rate of errors at 0.015%. Mine is currently averaging 0.005% but typos still get under my skin and I hate them and zey vill.not.be.tolerated!!

Not that I’m obsessive or CDO or anything… >.<

(For those that haven’t seen CDO before, it’s like OCD, but the letters are.in.the.correct.order. As they ought to be. :D )

Aaaaanyway, my first paperback has taken flight and ought to arrive within the week. I wait with baited breath for Michelle’s appraisal before I fix the dratted MS for one final time and close the chapter on the first book. Any remaining errors will have to be flagged up by particularly CDO-inclined readers of the future. I will simply smile quietly and say ‘I left that one in there especially for you, you clever thing.’

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acern270ginger write on

Oh, PS… I clicked ‘order’ on Tuesday evening (GMT), received a shipping notification the following evening and by Thursday afternoon, the book had arrived in Ontario! This was well inside Createspace’s ‘within 7 days’ estimate. Impressive!

 

 

 

Does a second book imply greater determination?

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image courtesy of Miklav at Stock Xchng

The first week my debut novel was listed on Amazon, back in 2012, I was buzzing with excitement – and personal pride. However, that feeling settled after a wee while and I began thinking about the sequel, which has now been over a year in the making. As the First, and then the Second Drafts dragged on, a mild sense of panic began to rise within me.

What if I can’t do this again?

What if the first book was all I had inside me?

And so, a renewed determination to finish the sequel arose. I would NOT be a one-book wonder. I wouldn’t end my days thinking ‘What a shame I only ever wrote the one…’ *croaks*

Sure, I’ve written many, many stories in my time. A lot of them have even begun paying me back for the time I spent on them. But a novel is something else, isn’t it? It’s the obelisk of the publishing world, the menhir of our career, the monolith…

Well, you know what I’m getting at. To me, the magazine articles I’ve written are fine, if a little thin, like single sheets of paper in a breezy doorway. My short stories (especially electronically-published ones) can feel like leaves in the wind, but in comparison, the novel is a bit of a cast-iron doorstep.  To have published one feels like a serious achievement; to publish a second means it wasn’t a one-off event and I really, really can do it.

And then, of course, there’s the pressure to sustain the output until the end of days. Once that begins, there’s no getting off the roundabout.

Can anyone else relate to this feeling?

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acern270ginger write on 

 

CreateSpace – Part V of my anticlockwise journey towards a paperback

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CoA post its

Well, my second proof copy has arrived from the USA and despite my best hopes, I’m still finding errors in the text. :(

I asked my significant other if she’d read through it for me… a fresh pair of eyes, and all that.  However, after five weeks of gathering dust (the book, not me!), I realised I’d have to undertake the task myself. *sigh*

After hundreds of read-throughs, I’m having real trouble concentrating on the text and find myself drifting along with the narrative instead.

Why, I keep wondering, do these text errors continue to plague my MS? I like to think I’m meticulous with my grammer and, speeling. I can only imagine the errors are typos I’ve somehow missed.

True, my typing isn’t perfect. As It gets faster, mistakes begin to appear, so I temper my speed to keep the typos down. However, impatience can sometimes bite and my fingers will get carried away, often typing faster than my brain (that only takes eight words a minute, usually!).

So this week finds me ploughing (yes, that’s how it feels after 500+ reads) through the paperback, hoping to upload and receive a corrected version before the end of July.

I have to – a couple of Floridian friends are keen to see a paperback copy in early August.

Anyway, back to reading…

In the meantime:

acern270ginger write on

Thank you everybody!!

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Today, I received this notification from WordPress:

1000 likes

Thank You

Thank you everyone, for your support, comments, likes and encouragement!

I look forward to following your wit, wisdom, tips and pics in the future.

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acern270ginger write on

Apologies – been busy *tries to get breath back*

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exhausted

Image courtesy of YelloShine at StockXchng

Hello everyone. I have finally emerged from my writing cave after an obsessive recheck of my MS for ‘A Construct of Angels.’

Following the re-launch on February 28th, I spotted a typo in the first chapter whilst posting a sample of the story onto Wattpad (yes, I’ve managed to stretch myself even thinner!).  Anxious as to why I’d missed something so basic, I felt compelled to re-read the whole story (again) – and I’m very glad I did. Scores of silly mistakes scuttled around in the daylight once that particular rock had been lifted, mistakes that should never have happened. I can only blame the way I used Word (in ‘show all changes’ mode) to enter the edit suggestions from Tara, my editor and ‘Words with Friends’ buddy.

I will be applying the lessons from this latest faux-pas to my next MS and sequel to CoA, ‘A Vengeance of Angels.’

So, I finally completed the read-through and Sonya Loveday has kindly offered to read it through for me, because if I have to read that story one. more. time. I might go a wee bit crazy. *sigh* Does everyone get to this love-hate stage with their MS, where they cannot bear to plough through it yet again?

If Sonya gives it the all-clear, I will finally be able to revisit the CreateSpace site and upload the finished MS, before I order a second proof copy. It’s been a long time coming…

In the meantime, Write On!

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The Writing Process Blog Hop

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Hops

Hops… :D

A few days ago, a baton in the form of a rolled-up newspaper arrived at my (virtual) door.

“Delivery from Jon,” the courier declared impatiently, as if he was eager to be on his way.

“Which Jon?” I asked. I knew many people called -

“Jumping from cliffs Jon,” he snapped, glancing back down the (virtual) garden path where my (virtual) dog was eyeing him up.

“Oh, that Jon.” I signed something that might have been a delivery note, or a promise to dedicate my life to achieving Peace on Earth at any cost, and let the courier go on his way, closely followed by my (virtual) dog… who was by now baring his (virtual) teeth. I unrolled the newspaper, which was a few days old by now (aren’t they all out of date the moment they’re printed anyway?) and a small scrap of paper fluttered to the ground.

‘Writing Process Blog Hop,’ it read, once I’d rescued it from the slavering jaws of my virtual dog (whom I shall now call Charles Xavier).

‘Be there or admit to being a parallel quadrilateral,’  it continued. I turned the scrap over, but could find no address. So I hopped onto Google, fell off, jumped back on and found a link to Jon’s Writing Process Blog Hop. My reputation as an irregular polygon was secure.

(It was at this point, I began to wonder if I’d accidentally absorbed some of Jon’s slightly deranged, yet brilliant enthusiasm from the virtual rolled-up newspaper. I decided to lie down for a little while… just in case.)

*A little while later, after a strong coffee and once the sun had cleared the yardarm…*

Despite a lack of information of Jon’s seventeen favourite carnivorous mammals, or references to sock colour, I found Jon’s post enlightening. The format of this particular Blog Hop diverges from the intriguing irrelevance of most Blog Hops insomuch as it seeks to uncover those reasons why we writers choose to endure the anguish of creativity – and what we create as result.

The questions posed are as follows (with my own answers forming the ham, cheese and perhaps a little mayo in the sandwich).

1) What are you working on?

My second novel and sequel to ‘A Construct of Angels.’ It’s a contemporary urban adventure / romance / mystery thriller, one-third completed and waaay behind schedule because I’ve taken so much time honing (and re-honing) the first novel. My thinking was, if the first book wasn’t absolutely spot-on and free of errors, who’s going to bother reading the second one? Anyway, the second book back-tracks slightly and begins two days before the first one ended, meaning I can revisit the final scene and let the reader experience it from a different character’s POV. Although the first book concluded neatly, there were still a great many aspects that could be elaborated upon – and now expanded upon in the sequel, where there’s space to do such things.

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

I’m hoping my WIP will be unique. It’s a romantic supernatural thriller, but with no vampires, werewolves or shapeshifters in sight. Nor are there any inexplicable teenage college crushes. That’s right – no teens. Aside from one small person who is aged four, everyone is between the ages of twenty and one thousand three hundred and thirty seven (no, really!). Also, my story is set in modern-day York (England), which is rare enough, and features many real-life locations which can be visited. Book Two will follow the same style and include new locations.

3) Why do you write what you write?

I was writing apocalyptic sci-fi before I was a teenager – creating worlds where only a chosen few survived. Subconsciously, I think it was my way of coping with my harsh and unfair childhood. By removing most of the population, and keeping only those I trusted, I was probably trying to exercise a measure of control over the world – a control that didn’t exist outside my writing. Later, I shifted towards High Fantasy, where I created worlds from scratch  and populated them with (mainly) trustworthy characters. Now? I’m hoping that my (genre-spanning) contemporary supernatural romance urban mystery thriller might help to get me noticed in the world of writing. If I can make my mark, I may be able to complete and (self) publish my earlier High Fantasy work, and perhaps even my first completed sci-fi series.

4) How does your writing process work?

I’m very lucky to be blessed with a constant flow of new ideas. Getting those ideas down in some form, however, can be a real challenge as my day job bounces me around the country on a regular basis. So I do most of my work on a Netbook, a miniature and highly-portable laptop.  I will create clusters of ideas, which will then grow into a linear story, rather like cells in a petri dish, spreading towards each other until all the clusters join together to form a seamless whole. That’s the point at which I begin to work through it, expanding on ideas, conversations and characters, swelling the story in a linear way, rather  like someone slowly blowing air into a long sausage balloon. Have you noticed that they always inflate from the nozzle end and gradually get bigger along their length, rather than expanding everywhere at once? That’s how my story expands.

All of my works to date have been never-ending stories (having no definite ending). The exception is my debut novel – whose ending formed before everything else in the story. So this story was almost written backward, with all events leading to the climax. Weird – but it worked. With the sequel, I also know how it’s going to conclude, so it will be written in the correct order, but with my eye firmly fixed upon that ending.

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Now, according to the convention, I am to tag four other writers who are worthy of note in the Blogsphere. I spent a little time tracing the lineage of this particular hop back through Jon, his nominator Vashti Q Vega, her nominator Amanda Staley and so on back through Karen at mytrainofthoughtson, Jessica P West, JDSFiction, ratiwrites

What? I like to be thorough. I didn’t want to nominate anyone who’d already been named. Plus I’m insatiably curious too. :D

Have alook at some of these other blogs – I found a lot of interesting material there.

So without much ado (too late?), I nominate four bloggers who have been closest to me since the very beginning.

Ryan Casey  - Ryan’s blogs are always informative and he is often way ahead of the game when it comes to anticipating the future for eBooks and their numerous formats. Ryan is a prolific writer and has long been blazing a self-publishing trail that inspired me to follow.

Candace Knoebel  has always been the inspiration I needed, when I needed it most. Her experiences in self-publishing have encouraged me to press on, despite the difficulties and pitfalls.

Sonya Loveday - The other half of the Knoebel-Loveday team, Sonya’s blogs are always fun and informative. BTW, keep an eye out for the Knoebel-Loveday parties being announced. They’re always worth showing up for! Go there, or admit to being a parallel quadrilateral.

Michelle Proulx – Why? In a word: Badgers. When Michelle first showed me her Badgers, I was overjoyed. Her blogs are always packed with fun and irreverent silliness, and the comments often take on a life of their own. They may even be sentient. Plus, Michelle holds the Award for the  longest title for a novel in decades, perhaps even longer.

Jon has been alongside me for most of my blogging journey, but I can’t bounce this back to him. Heck, I’ve named him almost a dozen times on this page already! Kisa Whipkey is also a fun blogging buddy, but Jon’s (that’s another one!) already nominated her. :D

But now, in the style of Michelle Proulx, an unrelated link for you to enjoy:

This is Lucifer, one of the many images from The Brick Testament.

Lego LuciferBehold+the+Metatron!

Theology aside, does anyone think he looks remarkably like Alan Rickman?

Enjoy the Blog Hop!

.

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ARCs of A Construct of Angels – the 2014 re-launch.

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CoA

As part of the re-launch on Feb 28th, I’d like to offer out a few Advanced Review Copies to my fellow bloggers and readers, preferably in exchange for a fair review of the book on Goodreads or Amazon.

Would anyone be interested?

If so, please let me know in the comments below, and then email me your address to; andybee64 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Please let me know if you’d prefer a Kindle, ePub or PDF version. The paperback is not yet available, but will follow along later. I hope to give away a few of those in the future.

As I’m on the road a lot, plus there’s a re-launch to organise, and I’m trying to pen the sequel etc, etc, so I’ll have to limit the number of ARCs to just fifty.

So first come, first served, as the old saying goes. I’ll leave a comment below when I’ve reached capacity.

P.S. Please don’t just ‘grab and forget’ – this book was written to be read and enjoyed - not cached. And if you’re a book reviewer, let me know and I’ll make available a copy outside of the fifty limit.

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keep calm plus author inside

Revisiting the scary world of creation

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terror

After having spent so darn long living with my debut novel, revising, re-revising, then working through Tara Shaner‘s edits, I find myself (finally) back in familiar territory – something that all writers may recognise.

I’d almost forgotten the simultaneous fear and thrill of creating new adventures for my characters, of developing their personalities from the ones I’d grown so accustomed to in the first book, whilst remaining faithful to their original outline.

Just to throw a spanner (wrench) in my own works (something I do very often), I’ve switched First Person POVs for the sequel, describing the new adventures through the eyes (and other senses) of a different main character. For me, it provides a fresh perspective on the character’s mileu.

I just hope the reader will agree. By comparrison, Philip Pullman did something similar between ‘The Northern Lights’ and ‘The Subtle Knife’.

Another spanner/wrench is the two-day overlap that occurs between the first and second books… a sort of half-reboot, if you like. Think of how ‘Back to the Future II’ meshed with the first film - except I’ve used days instead of years. No DeLorean, though. Shame.

By introducing this half-rebooted overlapping First Person POV switch (still with me on this?), I may have limited my timeline to some extent as the confluence of events must fit snugly against the original adventure. On the plus side, the alternative POV enables me to expand on the details of the overlapping scenes.

Win-win? We shall see. Ask me in a year’s time. :D

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CoA

Coming soon! Dun, dun-dundun-duuuun.

Write on!

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A Construct of Angels – the 2014 re-launch.

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CoA post its

It has taken many, many months of hard work, but the revised version of CoA (Kindle, ePub and Kobo) is finally ready to be shown to the world. The paperback is due to follow shortly afterward.

My editor, Tara Shaner and I have been bouncing the MS back and forth across the pond since July, and now, finally, we are both happy with the result. It’s fifty or so pages shorter, two characters lighter and a great deal tighter than before.

I’ve learned a great deal during the process of revision (old hands will nod sagely at this point, but bear with me).

An edit is not just about spelling and grammar. It’s as much about the flow as it is about the structure. It’s about plot threads and loose ends; developing characterisations as well as removing characters who either complicate or lend nothing to the plot. Pace, language and humour are also essential elements of an engaging MS.

I began 2013 with the certainty that after scores of read-throughs, my MS would be error-free and ready to roll.

No need for an editor, I thought.

I can do English. I know how to use punctuation.

I was so naive.

I’ve learned, by taking this long way around, that it really does take an outside and professional eye to spot repetitive or erroneous patterns in a Manuscript – and to offer solutions. A writer can become settled and overly accustomed to the flow of the story and (I have caught myself doing this at times) can tend to ‘read’ the story, rather than edit it objectively.

Be in no doubt that you may begin to question your own skill as a writer as overused words, inappropriate dialogue tags and pointless character actions are unearthed before your disbelieving eyes. ‘Did I really write that? What was I thinking?’

But a good editor should also indicate the places where your work shines, where the humour tickles and where the pace grips the reader. And whilst human nature will automatically remember the bad over the good, an indicator of  competent, nay, great work will help to soften the blow – as well as encouraging the writer not to throw in the towel.

I know where my towel is. :D

So the re-launch is imminent. Watch this space and if you can, please join me on my Author page for some fun, frolics and giveaways on Friday, 28th February.

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If you’re struggling with that minority language called ‘British’…

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aleazzurro  keyboard

I have occasionally ecountered comments that pointed out my failings - one of them being misspellings.

My spelling ‘mistakes’ often get picked up on Facebook and (occasionally) on WordPress.

I like to think I’m very thorough when I’m writing and take pride in my spelling and grammar.

Yes, I soemtimes mis-type (who doesn’t?) as my ‘want to type’ speed exceeds my ‘able to type’ speed and my fingers become a pink blur above the keyboard.

However, when I begin to receive feedback that I ‘should check my speling’ (sic) and see one-word corrections for my spelling when there is nothing amiss, I begin to see red.

I’ve been told (more than once) that I use a lot of British English (BrE). Yes, that’s true. I’m British, my characters are English and their story takes place in England. That would follow, wouldn’t you think?

Apparently not.

Ciara Ballintyne appears to have the same problem and states her case here .

So recently, I’ve been writing British English, but with the knowledge that non-Brits may very well read my work. For instance, my character drives a Volvo ambulance instead of the (correct) locally-sourced type because only Brits would know what a Vauxhall Astra was. However, I don’t compromise on ‘labour’ or ‘honour’, ‘realise’ or ‘criticise’ because Brit readers would hate me for it. My characters use Pounds rather than Dollars. I was astounded when I was told that someone had to Google ‘Biro’ because it wasn’t clear that it was a ball point pen.  What are those cheap, crystalline ball point pens made by BIC known as in the US - BIC pens?

These are things we need to know…

British English

I had considered adding a disclaimer stating that the book contains ‘British English’ just to clarify. In this electronic age, the written word is spread far and wide and a novel in English could easily have been written in Australia, South Africa, Japan or any number of countries. I learned recently that along with Australia, Canada still uses BrE, which was a bit of a surprise. I wonder how many other countries do? I’d be interested to know that Britannia does not stand alone…

Write On!

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