Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Leaving Reviews for Indie Authors

Reblogged from http://authorssmith.com/

This has always been a topic close to my heart and this post says it all so succintly. For independent authors, the internet - the book sites (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, even GoodReads) are our store front, our bookshelves. And reviews are what give us space on a virtual shelf somewhere in the vicinity of the shop itself, and not deep in the bowels of the basement:

You know that friend who’s always pleading harassing  asking you to leave them a book review on Amazon? The one whose book you read? Possibly you even got the book for free? Okay, so ME for some of you.

This is just a little tutorial/explanation of why it is so important and how to do it. One more encouragement to get you over there, leave the review, and drop the guilt. :)

First of all, is one more review really important? YES! Unless the book has over 100 reviews, it’s important. And the author checks every day on occasion to see if there is a new review. And it really makes the author’s day to see a new review (unless it is 2 stars or less and then they feel kind of bummed).


Wednesday, 11 June 2014


It was like some corny made-for-television movie: Bad guy gets released from prison with just a small bag of personal stuff. Close up of the gate banging shut, as he lights up a cigarette and turns his face up to the sun, smelling freedom at last. And there’s a car waiting for him… 

But the gate did bang. He did light up – the novelty of having a cigarette lighter again was enough for that. It was sunny, if barely a couple of degrees above freezing, and fuck did he appreciate being outside after three very long and boring months.

And there was a car waiting for him.

Friday, 6 June 2014

On Audiobooking

Audiobooks have been around for a long time. I remember listening to them myself on cassette as a child. My own daughter adored (and still has) many books on CD and she used to lie in bed at night and let them talk her to sleep. She always complained that she’d heard the start of one book so many times, she knew it by heart – but she still had no idea how the story ended!


Sunday, 25 May 2014

On hand...

Right now I am:

  • heavily involved in a community writing project. We're putting together a series of short radio plays based on village life. There are several of us on-board - writers, editors, actors, organisers - and we have episode 1 written up and a storyboard for episode 2. It's a completely new direction for me. I've never done radio plays before, or any kind of collaboration.
  • embarking on an audiobook production of Hamelin's Child via Amazon's ACX programme. I have a narrator now and once we sort out contracts, I expect to be involved in a lot of work listening to and editing chapters.
  • trying to finish a short story for an anthology deadline. It's not a commission so it's not really a deadline, is it?
  • mulling over ideas for Ratline, which will be the next book in Lenny's story after Rat's Tale. Maybe 4k down so far, but no plot to speak of as yet...

And then of course there's the usual June/July madness of birthdays, anniversaries and the awesome weird and wonderful event that is the Moulton Crow Dance at Crow Fair on July 12th. Once again my house looks like a terrorist training camp with stacks of black costumes and black hoods with slits for eyes....

Friday, 9 May 2014

Bad Boys Rock!

How many times have you watched a film or television show, or read a book and been just a little bit in love with one of the bad guys? Think Sean Bean in Patriot Games, Richard Armitage’s unbelievably sexy Guy of Gisborne in the BBC’s Robin Hood, or even Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, who wasn’t exactly the type of boy you’d taken home to meet your mother.


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Be good for good, not for gender

I confess the title isn't mine. I nicked it off my good friend Jan Edwards. But it just seemed to sum up how I feel about the current trend in anything to do with writing, genre fiction, the convention circuit: the circles I move in - or used to move in. I'm a bit more square these days, I think...

Gender Parity.

With capital letters.

Read any write-up of a genre convention and there'll be somebody banging on about it. How there were more men than women on this panel, more male guests than female guests and don't the organisers know that there are women writers too? Whole pages devoted to listing all the awesomely good ladies.

Anthologies are the same. Oh no - there are twenty stories and only two written by women! Surely that depends on the ratio of publishable stories that were actually submitted by women? Even committees are getting in the act. Must have an equal balance etc etc. It's bad enough in real life when the public sector talks about how many women there are in higher-management roles and are we under-represented because we took time out to have a family?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for women's rights and equality of opportunity. But the key is that word - opportunity. Take for example a hypothetical fiction anthology calling for submissions. It should be open to men, women, people who identify as either gender. After that it's surely down to the quality of the work submitted? Gender of author becomes irrelevant - in the same way that race, religion and any other identifying characteristic is irrelevant to the ability to write a good story. It's the same with panels at conventions and conferences; I want to listen to what somebody has to say because they have a valid and/or interesting contribution to make - not because they are a man or a woman and are there to make up numbers.

Frankly I find it all rather insulting. I don't want to be given preferential treatment because I'm female. I don't want to think people might be muttering she only got there because of her sex. I want to be on a panel or in an anthology or selected for anything in my life because somebody thinks I'm actually rather good at it. Because I am.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Rat's Tale is live!

So Rat's Tale is now live in ebook format at amazon.co.uk and amazon.com. The paperback and other sites should be there in the next few days hopefully.

Lenny’s turned his back on the past. In return for police protection and a lighter sentence, he’s grassed up his old gangland boss and he’s hoping that eventually he’ll be free to start a new life with Amanda.

But the past isn’t giving up on him yet. New man on the block Mick Carlotti fancies himself as a crime lord – he doesn’t have the contacts or the business acumen, but he knows a man who does. He also knows exactly how to get Lenny to play ball.

Caught between Carlotti’s rock and the hard place of a life sentence for a murder he didn’t commit, Lenny’s running out of choices. Turning his life around is going to be a lot harder than he thinks.

Set just after events in Calling the Tune, this shorter novel is Lenny's story and contains adult material. 

This one's been fun. Getting inside the head of a bad-boy and working out what makes him tick has been fascinating and not something I've done before. I think it works ...