Friday, 30 December 2011

A Knowing Look and Other Stories Post Launch Update and a Special Offer

Since I had my mini-launch for A Knowing Look and Other Stories, I have been feeling quite pleased with the book, mostly because of feedback I have received from others, including reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but also because when I hold the book in my hand, I actually feel a sense of pride that I created it myself.

I was also very surprised and delighted as I was approached by several book bloggers who were interested in reviewing the book. I didn't think this would be very likely considering firstly that it's a book of short stories and secondly because it is self published, so I am thrilled about that. I sent three review copies off yesterday and am now anxiously waiting to see what these readers think of my short stories.

Today I took delivery of a bulk order I made recently, and for a limited time only, I am able to offer signed copies via the drop down button in the panel on the right hand side of this blog.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful New Year's Eve and a fantastic 2012!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

My Writing Year 2011, in Multi Media

I started 2011 with stories published in two charity anthologies in paperback and feeling really happy about that. 2011 itself has been a ride and a half. Here it is in summary:

January 2011 - I became a voluntary reader for 100 Stories for Queensland
Click here to see more about the anthologies I have been involved with

February 2011 - I launched my first writing competition.
March 2011 - I signed a contract with Grimoire Books who are publishing my debut novel in January 2012
Click here to visit the Grimoire Books website

April 2011 I made this short video about my writing for Ether Books.
I really don't like being on video so this was a major thing for me

May 2011 - Nothing But Flowers published. This book includes my story 'On The Corner of Clerk Street' and here it is for sale in The Wallingford Bookshop
Click here to see 'Nothing But Flowers' on

June 2011 - Ether Books launched the latest version of their app. Throughout the year I have regularly had stories in the bestsellers list
Click here to see my list of content available via the Ether app 

July 2011 - I received my author copies of 'New Beginnings' and held my first ever book launch which went really well. Frozen Lime Images turned up and took some fabulous photos for me.
Click here to visit the Frozen Lime Images website

August 2011 - My first radio interview on BBC Radio Oxford

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Mystery Gift Winner & other rambles

Thank you to everyone who helped me to celebrate my launch of A Knowing Look and Other Stories on Thursday. I was quite touched by the amount of lovely messages I received.

The winner of my mystery prize is gillfraserlee. I will be in touch.

Apologies for the delay with announcing the winner, yesterday was an incredibly busy day with the last day of term and all that involves, plus one of my closest friends came to visit, so it's been a bit of a whirl.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Launch of A Knowing Look and Other Stories

Today is an exciting day for me as I am finally able to launch my collection of short stories, A Knowing Look and Other Stories which I have been blogging about in my Self-Publishing Adventures  series over the past few weeks.

I am delighted to now have the book available in all formats. It's been a really interesting experience to go through all of the processes involved, and given me confidence should I decide to do so again in future.

Anyone for a glass of fizz?
A Knowing Look and Other Stories contains eighteen short stories which have had a big impact on me in the past two years, either being placed in competitions, having been published or simply because the emotion behind the writing was so intense. I hope you will enjoy them if you decide to read them; they are quite a mixed bunch so I would be delighted to hear from you if you have a favourite.

Surprises for someone
I am going to give away a mystery prize to one person at the end of today, so if you tweet (using the hashtag #aknowinglook), mention on Facebook or elsewhere online, or even tell your mum/friend/postman about this collection please leave me a message in the comments section under this post and I will enter your name into a hat. I'm not going to tell you what the prize is just yet but it will make a nice Christmas present for someone and will definitely include at least one book related item and a tasty treat.

Thanks for joining me here today  x

A Knowing Look and Other Stories is on Goodreads here.

A Knowing Look and Other Stories can be purchased from the following places online: (Kindle) (Kindle)
Smashwords (All E formats)
Lulu (Paperback)
Or directly from me via the panel on the right of this blog (until the paperback appears online in Amazon, B&N etc)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wish I Was Here...

The view just above my laptop
Today I am taking part in an online party to celebrate the launch of Janice Horton's new e-book Reaching For The Stars. In the book, the main character, Chef Finn McDuff disappears on a self-imposed exile, so we are all sharing our dream escape locations!

This was a no-brainer for me, as you will see from the very rubbish photo, I have two of my favourite places right in front of my desk at all times. They are Champneys in Tring and Formentor beach in Mallorca, both of which I love rather a lot. If I'm ever having a stressful moment I shut my eyes and imagine the blue seas or the pampering you get at a spa... bliss!


The full blurb for the book follows below:
Scottish celebrity chef Finn McDuff is media stalked and disillusioned after winning his third star and losing his third wife. He decides he’s had enough of all the food campaigns, the TV cookery shows, the constant frenzy surrounding his private life and, after giving up all his accolades and closing down his restaurant, he disappears.

With the enfant terrible of the kitchen missing, two rival newspapers, having lost their media meal ticket, compete against each other to whip up further public curiosity in the missing chef. Love him or hate him, everyone is out looking for Chef McDuff. Who will find him first and whose side will you be on...?

You can find Reaching For The Stars on or

If you would like to join me in congratulating Janice on her book launch, please visit her blog here.

Congrats, Janice!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

My Self-Publishing Adventures: Part 7: Ready for Lift Off!

Print copies in need of a good home
What a difference a month makes! It was just under a month ago, on 15th November, when I decided I would go ahead and self-publish a collection of my short stories.

Today my print copies arrived, which I'm thrilled about.
My book is now also available online in all e formats.

I'm going to have an impromptu launch party online on Thursday so please do pop past my blog to say hello and grab a glass of virtual fizz!

As always, thanks for reading! x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My Self-Publishing Adventures: Part 6: Proofs aka What I Will Do Differently Next Time

This is the post of the series I have been dreading writing. It's the one where I admit to my mistakes. So here we go.

After uploading my stories to Kindle & Smashwords, I was on such a massive high that it went so well, I did what I usually do when I feel happy... I told my online friends. Luckily, in this one instance, I only shared on Facebook and not Twitter, or I would have more people to apologise to now.

I shared more because I thought it was such a miracle I'd managed to do the Kindle & Smashwords publishing without any aggravation. BUT, what I failed to realise was I have possibly the most supportive and fantastic online buddies on the planet, and within a couple of hours of saying, "Look what I did," 10 copies had sold via Kindle and 1 on Smashwords. It was only then that I thought... oops... I should have checked it through before I said that.

If you are one of those 11 people who bought a copy quickly, please do get in contact with me and let me see a copy of the receipt via email (if you have it) or my contact me page on here if not. I would like to give you a coupon for the latest version. Since that first upload I have added a full stop (I KNOW!), done a bit more tweaking of the formatting, and changed one of the story titles slightly thanks to something my daughter said... so I would prefer it if you had the up to date version.

As far as the paperback is concerned the first proof looked ok. I then made some tiny tweaks to that as well, and added my back cover blurb. At the time of writing I am waiting for the crash of my letterbox which will signify my final (hopefully) proof arriving.

My next post will hopefully let you know where you can buy the paperback!

Thanks for reading!

The next post in the series is here.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

My Self-Publishing Adventures: Part 5: Interview with Artist Paul Townend

Cover by Paul Townend
When I had my collection of stories sent off for editing, my thoughts turned to the cover. I looked at a couple of stock photography sites as I knew I wanted an elephant on the front cover, but the best photograph I could find was the back view of an elephant and that didn't really go with my story A Knowing Look.

Some of my more regular readers may remember the charity anthology Shambelurkling and Other Stories which I have two stories in. I loved the cover of this book on first sight and in a moment of inspiration I decided to approach the cover artist and see if he had ever drawn elephants.

Now, if someone asked me to draw an elephant, they would get something like this: 

WTH is that?

Yes, I am spectacularly hopeless at art. So imagine how I felt when Paul Townend sent me three pictures of elephants that were all brilliant. But then he took it one step further; he read my story A Knowing Look and sent me the picture that became the cover of my short story collection. I am totally in awe of his talent! 

I have invited Paul onto my blog to find out more about him.

Hi Paul and welcome to Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.
Thanks, Rebecca

Could you tell us a little about yourself in 50 words or less?
I'm a 33 year old artist from Worcestershire. I studied music technology and spent many years working as a Dj and teaching music at youth detention centres, before turning to the visual arts.I sign my work with the pseudonym I was initially embarrassed to call myself an artist.

How long have you been an artist? Is it something you have always been interested in?

I've been a artist for around 5years and I fell into it completely by accident. I was playfully trying to encourage my girlfriend to do more work for her university media course, and I've continued to draw almost everyday since. I vaguely remember winning a drawing competition at primary school, around the age of 5 or 6.I think it was of a haunted house.

Although I continuously paint and draw, I don't really have a huge interest in the visual arts and only really know a handful of different artists that I enjoy looking at, which are mostly personal friends.

You did the most incredible job by drafting the cover for my book after reading my story. Is this the way most of your ideas come to you?

I've only worked in that way a few times so far and was instantly inspired by your words. I could feel the imagery form as I progressed through the story.

Most of my work comes from improvisation and spontaneity, as I never really know what I'm going to do until the pen hits the paper. I usually start with a few randomly placed lines and often something will come out, that I've seen or thought in the previous few weeks. I find it quite exciting when given boundaries to work within for commissions.

What is your favourite medium to work with?

I love using black ink on card.

Which artists inspire you?

My favourite artists are Joan Miro and the Cornish painter, Alfred Wallis. I'm also inspired by the beautiful colours of Matisse. I find it hard to look at their work for any longer than 5 minutes before I'm compelled to start a drawing. My main influence comes from music .

Is there anything you would find impossible to draw?

Being an artist with no formal training, I find any type of still life drawing really difficult. My very first attempts were so incredibly bad and so I have a great respect for any artist who represents things realistically.

If anyone else would be interested in speaking to you about a commission, what would be the best way to get in touch with you?

Examples of my work can be found on my Facebook page - feel free to friend request me.

My email address is: www.paul.dotdotdot.townend (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Please feel free to contact me for any enquiries regarding commissions or purchases etc.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Paul, and also, of course, for the fantastic cover.

Click here for part 6, all about proof reading and things I will do differently next time I self-publish.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

My Self-Publishing Adventures: Part 4: Interview with Editor Nik Perring

Once I had selected the stories I thought I would include in my collection, I wanted a second opinion and an keen eye to check them over. There was no way I was going to self-publish anything without having it edited, so when I discovered The Story Corrective it was a no-brainer. I had known Nik Perring for a while online but somehow it had gone under my radar that he also edited short stories until I read a blog post he had written.

He did a fabulous job of editing my stories,  so I have invited him onto my blog for an interview.

Hi Nik, welcome to Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.

Hi Rebecca! It’s great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Nik Perring
Please could you give us your bio in under 50 words?

I’m an author and editor. I’ve had two books published (with one to come): ‘Not So Perfect’ is a collection of short stories which came out last summer through the wonderful Roast Books; and my children’s book, ‘I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do?’ was published by EPS in 2006. I also founded The Story Corrective.

(I know that’s a little bit over the limit, but what’s a few words between friends, eh!)

What sort of writing do you do?

All sorts! I started off writing for magazines and newspapers, almost ten years ago now. Which is scary. (Really, where did that go?) A little while after that I started writing fiction, and that led to (or solidified) my love of short stories. I had some published, then I published my children’s book, when I was 26, a few years later. And then I fell back into writing short stories and, as I mentioned earlier, was lucky enough to have a publisher as cool as Roast Books wanting to publish them.

So, while my writing’s been varied (I’ve also blogged regularly for over 5 years) it’s mostly been about, or around, short stories. I’m really lucky that people have seemed to really like them.

How long have you been an editor for and how did that come about?

I think that the moment you start taking writing seriously you become an editor of sorts. It’s the only way (unless you’re ridiculously talented or lucky – I am neither) to make your work good enough to be published, or good enough to do the story idea justice, or be good enough for people to enjoy it. It really is a huge part of the process.

But, technically speaking, I’ve officially been an editor since last summer when I started The Story Corrective, an editing consultancy specialising in short fiction. I wanted to provide a simple, efficient, and affordable service to people who want to make their stories better. And I’d been doing that, in different guises (behind the scenes for writer friends, and through teaching, and running workshops) for a few years, already, so it felt like a natural step to take.

I think a lot of people assume that editing’s a really complicated thing, and really it’s not – well, not all of it! All you need is an eye for it, and plenty of experience (which helps develop that eye) – and it’s not all about spotting misplaced commas and typos either; it has as much to do with understanding story shape and structure and how stories work, as anything else.

Do you prefer writing or editing?

I honestly love both. I think I simply love writing and words and stories. And while writing will always come first (I am a writer after all!) it’s really, really brilliant to be able to work with people and their words in other ways too – and editing and teaching allows me to do that.

What is your favourite thing about editing?

This is either going to sound horribly trite or really arrogant – but I really like being able to help people make their stories better.

And your least favourite thing about editing?

That’s a tricky one! I’d not really thought of that before. I love the job. I suppose the money could be better (though if it was, The Story Corrective wouldn’t be so darned fantastic value!).

You have recently had a collection of short stories published, please could you tell us a little bit about that?

Of course. ‘Not So Perfect’ is a collection of 22 short stories. Some of them are very short. Some of them are about things which might sound a bit odd. There are women in there who throw up small animals. There’s a boy in there who’s a shark. There’s a couple counting down the last five years of earth. There are also strawberries. And a lot about love and relationships and how we, as people, relate to each other. 

Do you have anything else in the pipeline writing-wise?

I do. Next spring, The Friday Project (HarperCollins) are publishing a book called Freaks!. I wrote it with the wonderful Caroline Smailes and it’s been illustrated in a really cool comic book style by Darren Craske . It’s another collection of  short stories (there are fifty in this one) and they’re all about people with superpowers, real or imagined. I’m super excited about it.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Nik!

You can find Nik's books on Amazon by clicking on the links below:
Not So Perfect
I Met A Roman Last Night, What Did You Do?

Click here to read the next post in this series: an interview with cover artist, Paul Townend.