Monday, 24 February 2014

The Book Trailer

My book trailer went live a few days ago so I thought I'd bring it to your attention. Some of you may know that I thought about making a book trailer but very quickly talked myself out of it because I wondered how effective a marketing tool a trailer would actually be.

But I talked myself back into it, because whether it is effecvtive or not - it was fun to do. It's not quite like the vampire and YA book trailers that seem to be dominating the YouTube channels but please have a look and comment about what you think!
The song in the video is sung by one of the characters in the novel in a little club in New York. She wrote it about her mother.
Please comment and share.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Author Interview - Terry Tyler

Joining me today is Terry Tyler to talk about her writing, plans for her career and to share tips and advice with any aspiring writers.

Welcome Terry 
Do you have a particular ‘writing routine’?

No, not really. I prefer to write first thing as that’s my liveliest time, and less in the afternoon because around 2pm is the time I most want to go to sleep! I read an article once that said 2.16 pm is the time most people feel at their drowsiest – you’ll probably remember that forever, now, like I did! I don’t have any little rituals, though; I just sit at my laptop and start. Oh – but I must have coffee. TONS of it, and so strong it’s probably really bad for me!

Are you a plotter or do you start with an idea and see where this takes you as you write?

Definitely the former. I don’t write huge detailed plans, and I think of changes and improvements as I go along, but I can’t see how anyone can write without deciding on a basic plot; they must have to edit out a hell of a lot of superfluous stuff when it’s finished! I’ve read in the past that a couple of well known writers just sit down and start with no plan – Jackie Collins, for one. I think it’s probably only possible to do this successfully if you’re a very experienced writer (or an exceptional talent).

What point of view do you prefer: first person or third person? (Ever tried 2nd?)

First, generally. I’ve just written a novel completely in first, though from different characters’ points of view, and it was so much easier than writing in the third person; it’s like writing a diary, or talking to someone. My writing style is very conversational, so I think it suits me.
When I write in the third person, I do so in a way that I’ve recently discovered is a specific style, called free indirect speech. I didn’t know what I did had a name until I read about it on the blog of someone who’s doing a course in creative writing. It’s when the narrative is not the words of a faceless narrator, but the thoughts of the character, so that the story is told from their point of view. It’s just something I’ve always done.

The second person? I think that would only work for a poem or short story!

What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?

I’d say the worst is that thing that happens when you’re tired, and you decide that everything you’ve written is a load of crap. Everything else, I love!

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Far too much for a blog interview answer! There are loads of tips here, in a post I wrote a few weeks ago – dos and don’ts for first time novelists:

Is there a phrase or quote about writing that you particularly like?

Several; one from author, editor and writing coach Rayne Hall:
Writing can be descriptive without being wordy – and wordy without being descriptive.”

Also these two from best selling novelist Zadie Smith:

Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation’. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle’. All that matters is what you leave on the page.’

Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.’

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Oh dear, this is where I sound really boring! I write most of the time. I relax by binge-watching good drama serials, with my husband. We love crime, thrillers and gangsters. I love historical ones (not the schmaltzy or historically inaccurate!), too. I also love historical documentaries. I read a fair bit; at the moment it’s mostly research for a future novel. Other than that I just do what everyone does – hang around and spend time with my family. Okay, okay, and I play too much spider solitaire, and backgammon on the ipad – I actually get RSI from it…!

Are there any books on writing that you find useful and would recommend? (links helpful if you have them).

I’ve never read a book on writing itself, because I come from the side of the fence that believes you can’t teach people to write. I do think, however, that some articles (and, therefore, probably books as well!) can make you more aware of things that you’re doing that make it worse – some of which are outlined in my ‘dos and don’ts’ piece. I’ve learned a few things that have helped me improve, usually from editors rather than other writers. On the marketing side, if you’re self-publishing your first novel, then My Way by Dave Perlmutter is a good one, although you do need to remember that what worked for him may not work for you. Here is the Amazon link – my review of it is on there, too.

When looking at books on marketing/writing (and there are hundreds), it helps to check out the fiction books by the author, too – if they’re not that successful, it might be that the tips in the marketing book are not very good. There is a US writer called Jeff Bennington who gives good advice, too – I can’t remember the name of his book right now, sorry.

Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?

If it wasn’t for Twitter I wouldn’t have sold more than 150 books, I shouldn’t think! I don’t spend time on online writing groups or forums or anything like that, though; I think people can get too caught up in them. There is a bit about this in the new novelists article, too – I’ve also put links to two articles about the self-published author and Twitter, which may be of use. I do like Goodreads, but I liked it more before it became just a sales tool, and was just about the discussion and recommendation of books. I have an author page on Facebook, to keep it separate from my personal stuff; on there I post blog articles and notifications of any special offers, or just chat; I don’t use it to promote on a day to day basis, because I don’t think that’s what people sign up for Facebook to see.

Tell me what plans you have for your future writing career and/or anything else you'd like the reader to know about you.

I’ve just finished a novel – it’s a long contemporary drama/family saga with a historical theme to it; more anon! Next, I shall be writing a Christmas themed novella to publish at the end of October. After that, I shall get on with the sequel to the drama/family saga. I also have the idea for the one after, which will be in a similar vein but centres round London gangsters in the 60s and 70s. Anything else I’d like readers to know about me? Yes: I am endlessly appreciative of everyone who reads and enjoys my books and blog posts. Every tweet to tell me someone’s enjoyed a book, every lovely review makes my day. I was trying to work out the other day exactly WHY I write, and I couldn’t come up with an answer. I think, though, that whether you produce books or art or music or films or pieces of embroidery or whatever, about the best thing that can happen is when someone says ‘that’s really good, I love it’. If any of your blog readers or Twitter followers would like to give me a try, my short story collection, ‘Nine Lives’ is only 77p! 

Here is link to my Amazon page:
This is the page, for outside the UK:
Here’s my personal blog:
. and my writers’ blog on UK Arts Directory:
.. and here I am on Facebook:

Many thanks for inviting me to your blog, Fran, and I hope this has been of interest to you and your readers.

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Friday, 14 February 2014

Love, Love, Love

I know it's not Valentine yet but I'm full of ...
Valentine's Day. No flowers, no chocolates, no cards. But am I complaining? No I'm not because I don't need a date in February to tell me that there is love in my life. I can only gush about my wonderful husband and beautiful (but messy) sons, bless them.

As far as my writing is concerned I'm loving how things are going. The publication of Holding Paradise was delayed by a year and now again by a month - the new date is 14th April 2014. But I'm just happy to finally be a published author. I was welcomed into the league of published authors by a writer friend today and I feel in good company.

It was hard work getting to the point that I could submit my work to anyone and it took a lot of confidence because I never really set out to be a published author. I am a singer-songwriter as some of you will know. Now I cannot decide which I love the most.

I guess this is just a nothing post about the things I love and I hope you are all doing the things that you love, no matter what the day. If that is writing then Happy Writing Day to you!

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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Author Interview - Caroline Sandon

I recently read Burnt Norton by Caroline Sandon and enjoyed it so much that I asked Caroline to come along to my blog and talk about her writing. Caroline very kindly agreed.

Welcome Caroline 
What was the thing that influenced you to start writing?

From early childhood I had written children’s stories and poems, but I needed the final push to get me started on the long and arduous journey to complete my first novel. Firstly I moved with my husband and my seven children and step-children to Burnt Norton, the house and gardens which inspired TS Eliot to write the first of his Four Quartets ‘Burnt Norton.’ The poem deals with time and redemption and it intrigued me. It is also one of the most famous poems of the 20th Century. The second influence was a framed newspaper article, which hangs in our downstairs loo. It was taken from a contemporary account of the fire at Burnt Norton, when the then owner Sir William Keyt set fire to his mansion, killing himself, and burning his brand new mansion to the ground. I wanted to know what drove a highly respected family man, landowner, aristocrat and Member of Parliament for Warwick to throw it all away for a young woman who worked in his household? The results of my research were fascinating and I was on my way.

Tell me your success stories in terms of publishing/self publishing?

Once I had written the first draft, I submitted it to an agent, and I was extremely lucky because it was picked up immediately. My agent is one of the most respected in London and fortunately for me she believed in the book even though it was in need of significant work.
With her advice I began a long stage of rewrites until finally she felt it was ready to go to a publisher. To get a publisher to take you seriously, your manuscript really does need to be presented professionally with minimal punctuation and spelling mistakes. Fortunately all this hard work paid off.

What are your top writing tips for any aspiring writer?

You need to have absolute dedication and be willing to take knocks because there will be several. Unless you are famous and you are doing one of those autobiographies probably ghost written anyway, the journey from your mind to the actual book will take years and many tears, and if I am totally honest, so many talented authors never make it at all. It is a combination of hard work, luck and sheer determination.

What are you working on now?

Alessandra’s war. This is a story set in England and Italy in the Second World War. It tells of a family torn apart by war. My hero is a Spitfire pilot fighting in the skies about England in the Battle of Britain, while his mother and sister live in Italy under a fascist regime.

What do you draw on for inspiration?

For me it is real events and places that I know. Italy with its extraordinary history and colourful past has always fascinated me. The people are passionate, flamboyant and yet fiercely loyal, and though the countryside can be exquisitely beautiful, the climate can be harsh and unrelenting. The Second World War changed Italy forever and my novel, once again a romantic tragedy tries to show Italy as it was then.

Please tell me anything else you'd like the reader to know about you.

I read law but gave this up to get married at 19. Shortly afterwards I was scouted to be a model, but with young children I found the increasing modelling commitments too time consuming and I gave it up to became an interior designer. Always however my passion for writing was never far away, and at last my novel is on the shelves.

It is out in hardback at the moment but the paperback comes out in April. 

Hardback Cover
To purchase Burnt Norton please click here
To find out more about Caroline Sandon, please click here.

Paperback Cover

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Sunday, 9 February 2014

My Debut Novel Excitement

Books are published by the thousand each week (don't trust my unofficial figures - never was very good at them) and people rush to buy their favourite authors, books by authors with high profiles and fabulous authors that have won prizes.

But what if you are a début writer and no-one has ever heard of you - what then? Well I tell you what then - you work hard to get your profile up and running. Try to create an interest. I have to admit, that has not been my forte to date but I really must try. I recently read How to Party Online by Janice Horton. and it has inspired me a lot.

You see my début novel, Holding Paradise will be out very soon. In fact publication day is 17th March and I'm planning an on-line party to celebrate the launch on 25th April. I hope you can join me on your blog or on Twitter. Details will follow here soon but post a comment if you would like me to come back to you with the party details personally.

I've been putting together a book trailer and views of the Caribbean and paradise beaches will feature in not only the trailer but the book cover too (what a give away)! It goes without saying that my book will take you to the Caribbean though it is mainly set in London, we'll pop to New York too.

I'll also be giving away a free copy so just as a heads up, start thinking about what your idea of paradise is!

And while I know this may not be an amazing attraction - I'm not famous, I haven't won a prize but I tried to write the best book I could. That's got to be worth something, right?

Happy Writing - and Reading folks!
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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Author Interview - Joseph M Rinaldo

My guest author, Joseph M Rinaldo, talks to us about his work and his new novel, Valerie's Retreat.


Welcome, Joseph. Tell us what you've published so far.

I have published four books that are available on Amazon.

Valerie'sRetreat puts Valerie's crisis management skills on display. You'll get to know her pretty average life. Her job as the head teller at a bank, her one bedroom apartment, and her exceptionally lazy cat give the impression that she could be anyone you meet in your daily life. However, when things start to get rough, her first reaction is to run. An abusive childhood you learn about as the story proceeds left her with shaky decision-making skills. Franco, her boyfriend, doesn't know what the right answer is either. Between them they commit a little felony and leave the country.

A SpyAt Home is a memoir of a former spy who near the end of his career comes to the realization that his life's work of promoting rebellion in third-world counties for American interests was a waste. Out of bitterness, he steals over nine million dollars on his last mission. The money was meant for a pro-American rebel group in an impoverished country. His retirement is spent learning what he missed at home with his family and wondering if the CIA will figure out he has their money.

HazardousChoices describes the difficulty a young man has trying to fit in during his first year of college. In Chicago he served as a gangbanger for the vicious Neptune Knights, and in a small Kentucky town where he received a scholarship to play division two football he tries to fit in with the other students. His understanding of the world doesn't make much sense in this environment.

A Mormon Massacre tells about a young man in his early twenties who had been raised hating the Mormon church. To fight what he believes is a cult, Jeremiah goes undercover as a convert to rescue women from abusive plural marriages.
What was the thing that influenced you to start writing? 
The actual impetus for me to begin writing came while I was reading Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks. When I got to the part where he received a million-dollar advance, I thought, “Holy cow! He’s a good writer, but I know I can do this, too.” I’ve been writing since that day in 2004.

Tell me your success stories in terms of publishing/self-publishing?

The success of Rinaldo Write and our four titles has succeeded in large part due to advances in technology. CreateSpace and Kindle have made self-publishing so easy. We feel that our four titles are strong additions to the fiction market and look forward to promoting them. If you would like a free chapter of one of our titles, please contact us through Facebook or our website -

What are your top writing tips for any aspiring writer?

Have someone who will read your book and tell you if it stinks. That's harder than it sounds, because most people won't want to hurt your feelings. Also, this person needs to be an avid reader. Find out if your manuscript is mentioned in the same sentence with big-name writers. If not, you need to get some honest critique before going forward with its promotion.

What are you working on now?

Life After Life; right now I love that title but it might change. This is about man who thinks he's crazy because he knows he's reincarnated. In his previous life he served as the man-servant to Alexander the First, the Tsar of Russia. The Tsar's death is surrounded by mystery and suspicion. This man knows the truth.

What do you draw on for inspiration?

The ideas for books strike me from out of nowhere. Sometimes while I'm reading a book or watching the news an idea for a story comes to me. Other times, I have an idea based on a book I read several years ago and an event that happened several months ago. Those two might not have seemed connected at the time, but after rolling around in my head they become a story. I never know where inspiration will come from.

Please tell me anything else you'd like the reader to know about you.

I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my wife and daughter. We like to go boating as a family, and I jog to stay fit. My daughter has Down syndrome and competes in Special Olympic powerlifting, bowling, and basketball. I'm an assistant basketball coach and helper "coach" for powerlifting. My arms are so tiny they make Barney Fife look strong.

I understand people are hesitant to give independent authors a chance. Some of the indie stuff IS really bad. If any of the books I've mentioned interest you, please go to the free "Click to Look Inside" and sample the first chapter. If a book grabs you that quick, you'll probably be glad you got it. Also, if you are in a book club that reads one of my books I'd be honoured to join your discussion. Feel free to contact me through Facebook or my website,

Thank you Joseph!

Please click on the titles in the interview for more details about all of Joseph's books and where you can purchase a copy.