Category Archives: Guest Post

The Next Shiny New Thing by Georgia Rose

Georgia Rose 2

Author Georgia Rose

I’m sure I am not alone in this writing world when I say that I’m not a fan of having to get involved in the marketing of my books. In fact, I would give a lot to be able to hand that task over to someone else. I am a person who likes to have some control in the things I do, this is a reason why I love being an indie author, but I find the marketing world a confusing one. Someone on Facebook recently described trying to run a successful book promo like throwing darts in the dark and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve been struggling with setting promotions up recently and wading through the bewildering array of promotion opportunities is enough to make your head spin.

Perhaps I should clarify this a little because I understand the concept of spreading the word in as many different ways as your time, and energy, will allow in order to reach as wide an audience as possible. However, it’s the plethora of advice available over which routes to take, which sites to sign up to, which sites to give your shiny pound/dollar to if you get granted the opportunity, of course, to be accepted onto their site in the first place that’s hard to decipher.

I must however give a huge round of applause to the indie world out there who being endlessly generous and supportive of each other think nothing of having a decent sales spike after a promo and then willingly tell everyone how they achieved it.

Rather unusually, but please indulge me, I’m going to use a football (soccer) analogy here because seeing authors leaping onto the bandwagon of ‘the next big thing’ I’m reminded of watching my son play when he was an 8-year-old when he and his team moved as one, huddled around the ball which attracted them as if it had magnetic powers and much as a laser does to a tumble of kittens (see YouTube for examples).

I’m finding that this is happening to me. I start out reasonably focused on the marketing tasks I’m planning, I pop onto the internet to, you know…tweet…and all that then before I know it I spot a blog post discussing how someone shifted goodness knows how many gazillion copies of their book in a day which, obviously, sounds like a great idea and I will be derailed. This happened to me last Sunday when I ended up setting up an Amazon Giveaway for a couple of paperbacks of my first book. It wasn’t planned and I really need to stop these spur of the moment, and distracting, decisions.

What it comes down to is that we are all after the next shiny thing. The latest, and greatest, marketing whatever that has worked for someone and will also give us some, hopefully, spectacular results. I guess I should make up a proper marketing plan. Now, I just need to know what one of those looks like…I’ll pop onto Google to try and find out… it won’t take a moment. 😉

ABOUT GEORGIA ROSE
Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her overactive imagination! Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire where she lives with her much neglected family of a husband, two grown up children and two dogs.

CATCH GEORGIA’S Thicker Than Water WHILE IT’S ON SALE!

Thicker than Water (Book 3 of The Grayson Trilogy)

Amazon US
Amazon UK

CONNECT WITH GEORGIA ROSE

Website and Blog:- http://www.georgiarosebooks.com/
Twitter:- @GeorgiaRoseBook
Facebook:-Facebook  

A Poet Finds Her Voice–Christine Burke

My poetry started life in the wee small hours after my husband left me for a younger model. I couldn’t sleep or think straight and used to write my thoughts down to try to get them out of my head. I suppose it was like screaming on paper.

Headshot of Christine Burke

Poet Christine Burke

The silver lining is that when I moved house years later, I found what I’d written and realised some of it was poetry. I started taking writing holidays and online courses with the aim of publishing – I didn’t want what I’d been through to be for nothing. The best MOOC online course I did was with the University of Pennsylvania led by Al Fireis – Modern Contemporary Poetry – being with thousands of other students learning about poets from Emily Dickinson thru Robert Frost to Sylvia Plath was extraordinary and changed my life. Poetry became something other than therapy for me, it became my new world.

And the writing holidays are amazing too – meeting great writers and being encouraged and inspired by fabulous, fun people from all walks of life who love writing and all have stories to tell. I learned that I have to write a little each day rather than wait for inspiration to strike – exercise my writing muscle – and then the Muses will visit!
The poem I’ve chosen to talk about is the first of my poems that made someone cry. (yes, other poems have done it since then!!!) I thought it might be interesting to some of you. It was my first unintentional attempt at prosody, I’m still learning…

THE FRIDGE
The little light came on,
the only warmth in this cold place.
She reached for sustenance,
hesitated, withdrew
from the two eggs,
the rotting carrots,
and the meal for one –
calorie counted,
past it’s sell-by date.

Once upon a time there was cake, fresh cream;
wine, ginger, Brie,
St. Agur (her favourite)
and Stilton.

Still surprised by the emptiness,
she could have cried for the Stilton.

I suppose it’s obvious that what shocked me even a long time after my husband left was that there was nothing in the fridge. In my head the fridge should have been full for a party or a dinner, as it used to be (no-one has that variety of cheese unless it’s a dinner party!). So when I opened the fridge in a fruitless search for physical and mental sustenance, there was nothing there, and I thought I was ‘past my sell by date’. And I guess this touched some people, maybe they empathised, because it was one of the poems Encarna Dorado Cuenca chose to illustrate for me. It’s amazing how she paints the coldness of the kitchen. You can see some of her illustrations on my website illustration page if you’re interested – I love them all.

My website is www.christineburkebooks.com

If anyone would like to contact me through the contact page on my website I’ll email you BREAK-UPS SUCK! FREE!
I haven’t got automatic downloads set up yet so you might have to wait a couple of days …

With all best wishes, bye for now…
Christine

Bio:

Christine studied languages at school, worked in computing and lived around the world for fifteen years, including three years in the US. She enjoys dog walking, metal detecting and modern jive.  She has indie published six books of poetry and is working on the next one.

Christine’s Amazon Page
Christine’s latest collection is LEGACY

Cover Legacy

 

Writing That First Kiss

Today in This Literary Life Dutch Contemporary New Adult author Lis Lucassen shares the joy and tingles of that very first kiss.

Lucassen, L.

Author Lis Lucassen

It’s magic

I love reading about it. I most definitely love writing about it.

And I still remember how it happened to me. For me, it’s one of the most
anticipated and important scenes in every romance novel. It’s the pillar of the story. It’s pure, it’s sexy, it’s everything you hoped for and then it happens… And everything’s changed.

What I’m talking about?

The first kiss.

That magical moment in which the hero and heroine can’t deny it anymore. Their lips touch and their feelings explode.

I’m a sucker for a good first kissing scene. Every page I turn, I’ll hope the next will be the one where mouths glide against each other, where eyes flutter closed and where our beloved characters lose themselves in each other. Completely. Totally.

Writing about that first kiss is all about planning. When will it happen? When’s the right moment? On which page are the stars aligned? If it comes to soon, there’s no magic and it feels too rushed. When it comes too late in the story, the momentum is off and there’s no gratification. It’s like holding on to your favorite cookie, only to find out it’s gone stale when you finally are ready to eat it. And everybody likes their cookie with some crunch, am I right?

A first kiss needs to be just that. Crunchy. And magical. It takes you back to that special moment in your own life, or makes you want it even more if it didn’t already happen to you. In that last  case, let me tell you, you’re the lucky one!

You’ve still got that earth stopping, heart shattering, sense numbing, and totally of the charts blissful moment in your future. For us that are behind the kissing mark, we’re lucky that romance writers exist, so that we can live vicariously through the characters that they gave us.

Lis Lucassen’s latest novel Heat (read my review HERE) is available at these outlets:

Heat by Lis Lucassen

Amazon.com

Amazone.co.uk

Kobo

Google Play

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Connect with Lis!

Facebook Storm Publishers: https://www.facebook.com/stormpublishers

Facebook Lis Lucassen: https://www.facebook.com/lislucassen

Guest Post: Author Lisa Vogel on What Makes for Believable Fiction.

Lisa Vogel and her cat

Author Lisa Vogel and feline friend.

It’s a good thing writers are different because readers certainly are. If you want to see some evidence, go onto Amazon or any other website which allows readers to review books. You’ll soon have no doubt in your mind that there are an awful lot of opinions about what constitutes good writing, and many of those opinions contradict. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who knows! The bottom-line is that what readers want differs. This is good news because it means there is a lot more leeway for writers than many of us might have originally thought. Of course, you should definitely be the best writer you can be. What constitutes being the best? That’s the part that varies. So, there is hope your individual style will connect with some (although definitely not all) readers.

Nowhere is this more the case than in relation to characterization. There isn’t a right answer. There is only personal taste. And, since I, as both a reader and a writer, tend to like books that delve deeply into negative attributes, that’s what I’m going to address. I’ll use two books to illustrate what I mean. Both We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver and House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III contain a plethora of deeply flawed characters and, ultimately, a bad ending for just about everyone. One book I found completely realistic. The other book left me feeling that the author had gone too far.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin

In We Need To Talk About Kevin, the main characters are all part of one family (Mom, Dad, one daughter, one son), and everyone has personality issues. Kevin, the older child, is clearly the most flawed of the bunch, and Shriver never really says what’s wrong with him. Rather, she expertly leaves it to readers to interpret for themselves. What do you call a teenage loner who has murdered his fellow classmates? At the very least, he is extremely troubled. I didn’t personally relate to him (that’s probably a good thing), but I did completely relate to the manner in which the other characters were affected by him. And, as I know there are young people who have murdered others, I understood that his personality type, although rare, does exist.

On the other hand, I was easily able to relate to the other characters, especially Kevin’s mother Eva. I could feel within myself her struggles, her need to withdraw, her inabilities as well as her strengths. The same was the case with Eva’s indecisive husband Franklin and emotionally pale daughter Celia. All the characters were flawed but, other than Kevin, they seemed to me to be not so different from my friends, my neighbors and, well, myself. The problem for them was that they were tied to the railroad tracks of their lives and were therefore unable to get away from that out-of-control locomotive that was Kevin. Because Kevin was the only character that, of his own accord, went truly over the edge, it allowed me to believe in both the entire characterization of the novel as a whole and what I interpret to be a somewhat open ending.

House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog, which also has characters murdered and in prison by the end, is a novel I had a lot more trouble relating to. No one is quite as troubled as Kevin in We Need To Talk About Kevin, but the three main characters in House of Sand and Fog are far more troubled than I am. And isn’t that how we all judge things in the end? I could believe that someone would be as troubled and oblivious as Kathy. I could believe that someone would make as many critical errors in judgment as Lester. I could believe that someone would be as controlling and stubborn as Behrani. But, although I could feel myself in Eva, Franklin, and Celia, I couldn’t quite feel myself as Kathy, Lester, or Behrani, just as I couldn’t feel myself as Kevin. While one hard to digest character can make for excellent fiction, three in one book is too much for me. It just didn’t seem realistic.

And then, too, are how the books end. In my opinion, given the nature of Kevin (as well as the other characters) everything in We Need To Talk About Kevin happened in a logical progression. True, a number of characters die, but it happens due to a worst-case scenario based on the actions of ONE character. In House of Sand and Fog the ending requires that a worse case scenario occur in the lives of all three main characters separately. It’s like a perfect storm of misery converging into one humongous pile of poo. Though it was masterfully done, I still didn’t quite buy it.

There are, of course, many readers who feel differently. As of August 14, 2014, there are 275 five star reviews for House of Sand and Fog (out of 836). No doubt those reviews represent readers who did not feel the book’s conclusion was over the top. We Need To Talk About Kevin has 441 five star reviews (out of 828). Both books were made into motion pictures. Whatever you think of them, you can’t say they were commercial failures.

So, what is the message that writers might walk away with from these two novels? I think it’s to not be afraid to write hard to sympathize with characters. If the novel justifies it, some readers will go there with you. On the other hand, don’t make things dark unnecessarily. Take a look at what feels true to you and write that. No book is for everyone but, if the way your plot unfolds is based on what you perceive to be realistic characterization, it will be a real plus for some readers no matter how bleak that road is. But even more than that, the larger lesson is this: write what feels true to you. Readers don’t all want the same thing. Don’t let yourself be talked into someone else’s idea of what sells.

LISA VOGEL lives and writes in Cascabel, Arizona.