Monday, 29 September 2014

Help! My Novel Needs a Title!

I need some help people! My manuscript for the fourth Redcliffe novel is progressing speedily now that I am back in the groove, but at the moment it still doesn't have a title. Now I am not too concerned at present, because I have a long way to go before the book is ready to publish. However, I sort of feel the need to give it a name. It needs an identity of its own, and not just Redcliffe book 4, as I currently refer to it as. Can you help?

OK, so, where do we start? I think about how I named my first three novels in the series. Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) was named almost from the start of writing it really. I got the name from that classic rock ballad by the band Nazareth. It seemed to fit somehow, and for those of you who read the book, you may remember the sneaky reference I put in there...

Moving on from that, I chose Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel) as the title for my second novel because it was just right. Again, I liked the short, sharp header, and it is appropriate for the content of the story. Finally, my third novel Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel) also came naturally. Once I named the first book in the series and knew that I was writing two more, it was easy to pick titles. They all had to connect, and they all reflect the themes of the stories.

Now I have a dilemma. Do I choose a title for book 4 that also includes the word 'love' or do I move away from that? You see, the first three novels form a trilogy, but now I plan to write another three in the series. They may form a separate trilogy, I am not sure, so perhaps I can move on to a new theme. However, they follow on with the story that emerged in Love Redeems, and so I need some sort of correlation I think. I don't know! If you can help, please do... I await your suggestions and advice.

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Redcliffe Novels are Back on Track! #amwriting

Hooray! After a year of dithering, of losing my muse, and of blaming pregnancy and motherhood for my lack of writing motivation, I am happy to say that the Redcliffe novels are back on track. I have returned to my manuscript for book 4 in the series, and things are fiery as ever. At present I do not have a title for the new book, and I'm not even halfway through writing the first draft, but I am getting the urge to keep at it, and it is firmly back in my conscious mind again. Here is a little snippet, just to whet your appetite...

        “Jack,” I gasped in surprise, “What do you mean, my kind? You sound so… distant.”
He smiled again, but I knew this was the vampire, not the man I loved.
“What do you expect, witch?” he asked, “Should I bow down at your feet and worship you like he does?”
I glanced at Danny, who had moved forward silently and now stood very close to my back, so close that I jumped and caught my breath. He was watching me steadily, unsmiling, apparently uncaring of his brother’s harsh tone.
“I do not worship you, Jessica,” Danny said quietly, “but I do need you. I need your power, and I need your body. I cannot deny that.”
I looked at Jack again, who was watching me with the eyes of a predator, distant and calculating. I swallowed, not sure what to do or say next.
“Jack,” I said, “Jack, please come back to me. Speak to me properly, Jack. I need you. Please.”
A shadow flickered across his eyes and his expression changed.
“Jessica,” he said slowly, “What have you done?”

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Book Review: Deadly Beauty by M.K. Elliott

Today I share my review for Deadly Beauty by M.K. Elliott

Sex, Vampires and Lots of Passion

This is a well-written novel with a very specific and often highly controversial plot. It is, essentially, all about the sex. More specifically, sex between vampires, both homosexual and heterosexual. I enjoyed reading it, and it was hot stuff, but also very violent. I also liked that it was a British story, set in familiar places and locations.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Book Review: A Menu of Death by Lucy Pireel

Today I share my review of A Menu of Death by Lucy Pireel.

A haunting, gruesome, good read!

I really enjoyed this book, and because it is small, it only took me a few hours to read. It is an anthology of short stories that explore themes of domestic abuse, murder, psychopathic tendencies, and good old-fashioned ghost stories. My favourites were A Dollar’s Worth and Reunion. I also quite enjoyed Bloodwork, although that did disturb me quite a bit! If you enjoy classic horror then I recommend you read this book, and it is certainly a great addition to a Halloween book club

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Book Review: Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose

Today I share my review of Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose

A delightful read!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It was a birthday gift from a friend, and I did really enjoy reading it. At first I was unsure because I felt like the author was simply showing off her own academic knowledge of books, and I wondered about why she shared such lengthy extracts from other stories to fill her book. However, after the first chapter I really got into the stride, and I delighted in the language she used, how she demonstrated her sheer love of reading, and then she proceeded to explain that actually, all of these traditional writing rules are made to be broken, but sometimes they can be used to good effect. This book made me feel good about my own writing, because I can see my talent compared to the extracts I read. It also gave me some new authors and stories to explore, and there is an extensive reading list at the back which I will take great pleasure in ticking off (although it might take many years to succeed!) All in all I recommend this book to readers and writers alike, especially if you take pleasure in wordplay.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Book Review: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Today I share my review of Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts

One of my all-time favourite books!

This massive tome was allocated as the summer read by my local book club. I had not heard of it previously, but I am so glad that I read it! I know when I am on to a good book if I find myself reading it during the day while my children play, or taking it in the car when I am a passenger. I just had to read this whenever I found time. The prose is delightful, with a wonderful feast of words that delight the senses. And the author really takes you into his world. I have never visited India, and I know very little about these distant countries, but now I really want to visit after reading Shantaram.

I will not give too much detail about the story, because I could write a whole book just discussing the narrator, the text, the themes etc. Suffice to say I feel a huge sense of achievement for reading the book because it is huge, and I enjoyed every word. None of it seemed excessive, or waffling, which I have found in previous large novels. The only negative I can offer is the sheer volume of characters and sub-stories involved. They did cause some confusion, but ultimately this story will stay with me for a very long time.

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Friday, 5 September 2014

Let's Get These Stories Written!

During the past four years I have been on an exciting journey as I became a wife, a mother, and a published author. It has taken me until now to realise exactly where my writing career is likely to advance. I hadn't really considered the possibilities of how to earn a regular income and how to make my business viable. I am still figuring that out. True to my creative nature, I try not to think about facts and figures unless I need them in a story. I much prefer the freedom to follow my heart and go where my spirit takes me.

But, needs must, and we live in a society that is reliant on monetary income. It is time I returned to the land of paid employment. At the moment I am still working out how to do that as a self-employed businesswoman. My business is writing. I just have to establish which forms of writing I want to focus on. I had tried a little freelancing, and I secured a few jobs writing blogs for obscure websites in countries I have never visited. The pay was low, and after almost a year I decided it wasn't really worth my time and effort.

I have four published novels, and three published short stories that are all widely available for sale both online and in bookstores. My problem is advertising them effectively when I have literally no budget and no means of marketing beyond what I can manage for myself. It is very hard to rely on word-of-mouth sales when my friends and family rarely talk about books. I am still trying to get the word out, but I am not what you would call a vocal person, and I find it quite difficult to confidently sell myself to strangers without feeling nervous and self conscious.

Anyway, aside from that, I need a regular income. My book sales barely cover the cost of a pad of paper at the moment, and the freelance article writing I had considered just doesn't sit right with me. Now I have decided to start entering story competitions. I have entered a few in the past; indeed that is how I got my very first short story published, in the teen anthology Devils, Demons and Werewolves. But then I trailed off. I entered a few more competitions without success, but then allowed myself to be distracted. Now I need to get back on it, so to speak. My stories must be written, and I will earn some money from them so I can promote my novels and support my family. Let's do it!