Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Internet as a Tool for Writers

In the past week or so I have been thinking about cover designs for When Dreams Come True and after hours of trawling through stock photography sites I had three photographs, one of which I loved, one I didn't like much at all and one I found was growing on me.  I asked some of my friends for their thoughts, which they duly gave. These friends are all people who I have got to know online.

The photo that I loved had some issues with it. The girl in the photo Is My Character. You know, when you look at a face and think, YES!

But I don't ask for feedback from people who I respect the opinion of for nothing. Some of them had issues with the emotions shown in the image.

I did something I felt really cheeky doing yesterday. I emailed the photographer - who lives in the USA, to see if she had any more shots from the photo shoot with a slightly different expression. Her reply pretty much took my breath away.

In summary, while I was sleeping last night, the photographer did a reshoot with the same model, using my exact requests as guidelines. I now have 26 images to choose from, which is a task in itself, as they are all totally gorgeous.

I can't help but think about how hard it must have been back in the time when Dickens was writing. He had to get on a boat to go to the US and travel around doing readings to speak to people.

These days we are so blessed with the Internet. Not only was I conversing with a photographer in another country yesterday, I was also giving advice to a new book blogger in the US, emailing a friend in yet another country about our writing goals and progress, and having email exchanges with several other writers in the UK. These things would have been impossible before the Internet. Sometimes I wonder if we realise just how lucky we are.

Thanks for reading - this post makes my blog title seem quite apt don't you think?


Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop Winners

My post for the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop has so far been my 6th most popular post on this blog ever!

It's a massive pleasure to announce my winners:

New Beginnings was won by Miri

A Knowing Look was won by Mary @ SweepingMe

The (very rough & ready) advance copy of When Dreams Come True was won by FiveStarBooks

Thanks to everyone who entered!


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop

I am taking part in the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Read for Your Future.

The dates for this hop are February 17th to 21st.

All you have to do is tell me which of my books you would like to receive as a prize if you win.
The options are a signed copy of:

New Beginnings (Paperback)
A Knowing Look and Other Stories (Paperback or any E Format)
A very advance paperback copy of my second novel When Dreams Come True which is still subject to minor changes and doesn't even have the proper cover on it yet.

You can read a bit more about all of the books here.

To be in the hat twice, all you have to do is 'like' my Facebook page.

Any comments made before midnight PST on 21 February will count, and a winner will be picked on 22nd.

This is an international giveaway.

Good luck and happy hopping!

I have other giveaways running on Goodreads at the moment - you can find the links on the right hand side of my blog.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

What I've Been Doing Lately

Hi everyone

Well I've been a bit quiet here on my blog recently, not really saying much about what I've been working on, so thought I'd write a little update today.

The reason I've been a bit quiet is on my launch day for New Beginnings, I sat in front of my computer for 16 hours straight and STILL didn't feel like I'd done enough to share links and thank people. Please do visit my pages called 'interviews' and 'guest blogs' as I have updated them to show the blogs that were published on the day. After that long day, it has taken me a while to get back into the swing of being on my computer again!

I have received some lovely emails from people who bought the book on the day, some of which have really stuck with me. It means so much to be told that my words have had an impact on somebody.

I have been working on my second novel, When Dreams Come True. My beta readers were very enthusiastic about it, and I have spent the last six months sending it off to publishers and agents. The response has been a selection of form rejections and hand-written complimentary "nearly but not quite" notes, but the overall scenario is I am now gearing up to self publish the book. It has been edited and I am now sending it to some readers in the right age group to see what they think of it. I also have a proof reader and cover designer waiting in the wings so hopefully this book will be available by the summer. I've even set it up on Goodreads so you can follow the updates on there if you so wish.

I've started writing my third book for children, which is a traditional adventure story for younger readers, age 6-9. It's based on a place I've actually been to - I knew as soon as I clapped eyes on it that I would end up writing an adventure story about it. I will be going back there soon to absorb the atmosphere again and take some photos.

I currently have some stories (for adults) going through the submission process for some womens' magazines so please keep your fingers crossed. One of them has been out for nearly 4 months so I imagine I will hear about that one before too long.

I have got some exciting events coming up this year. I am going to a school reading festival in September which is at the school I used to go to. That will be great fun for many reasons, but not least because I can have a snoop around and see what has changed there. I am also very excited about National Flash Fiction Day (May 16th) which will be a lot of fun. You can see my writer profile for this here.

I have definitely written far too much enough now!

Thank you so much for reading,


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Short Stories on Wednesdays: Not So Perfect by Nik Perring

This week I have read Nik Perring's collection of stories, Not So Perfect.

This is a collection of contemporary short stories and flash fiction which made me smile, wince, and yes, I'll admit it, it did bring a tear as well. It's a great mixture of stories, and despite being a paperback fan, I found once I had started reading this book on my Kindle, I couldn't put it down. I actually read the whole collection in one day, which is very unusual for me.

Not So Perfect is a collection I will definitely be reading again.

If you want to find out a bit more about Nik Perring you can read the interview I did with him at the end of last year, shortly after he edited my own short story collection.

Not So Perfect is published by Roast Books and can be found on Amazon here.

Find out more about Short Stories on Wednesdays by clicking on the link.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Indie Author Tag Party

I'm a bit late to this party, but better late than never! Please click here to see my post about tagging and for the links to my books.

Thank you!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Spread Love, Not Hate - Anti-Bullying Blog Hop

I'm taking part in a special blog hop today which includes all of the blogs in the linky list below, and hopes to send out an anti-bullying message.

I've posted before about my personal experiences of being bullied. I won't type it all out again in detail so click that link if you want to read it.

I just wanted to say, if anyone is looking through the links on the hop and trying to find advice because they are being bullied, have a look at the Bullying UK website. They have advice on there for people of any age, who are being bullied for whatever reason.

You can visit the other blogs taking part in this hop below:

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Short Stories on Wednesdays: The Machine Stops by E M Forster

Today for Short Stories on Wednesdays I dug out the short story book I  read for my O'Level English Literature. My copy of the book itself was printed in 1986, and you will see from the picture it is accompanied by a very fetching home made bookmark which I can only imagine I made in the early '80s.

I re-read one particular story which has always stuck with me, The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster. One of the first Sci Fi stories I ever read, this story was originally published in 1909, and foretold of a world where humans become dependent on technology. Video conferencing is the norm, and the surface of the Earth has been ruled unfit for habitation.

The story hits home even now, but even more so when you remember that it was written long before the Internet, webcams or Global Warming were heard of.

You can find a full page with much more detail about this story over on Wikipedia.